'Waiting for Hamas on Schalit deal'

Netanyahu tells FADC "dangerous terrorists" can't be freed to W. Bank.

June 21, 2010 15:20
1 minute read.
Gaza women schalit mural 298

Gaza women schalit mural 298. (photo credit: )


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday spoke up against freeing convicted terrorists into the West Bank in exchange for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

"We can't release dangerous terrorists to places in the West Bank, where they can kill Israeli citizens," he told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, though he noted, "We're constantly looking for new ways to bring Gilad home safe and sound."

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Netanyahu went on to tell the committee that a new plan had been presented by the German mediator working on the case since late last year. "The German mediator has given an offer for the prisoner exchange deal, but Hamas is yet to answer."

"While it's not a simple offer, we have agreed to it," he said.

Earlier, Netanyahu told the FADC that the decision to ease the civilian restrictions on the Gaza Strip enables Israel to focus on security-related issues, including the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.

“The cabinet decision to lift the civilian blockade on Gaza and tighten the security blockade is the right decision for Israel, because it negates Hamas propaganda’s main claim,” the prime minister said.

He added that the move would enable Israel and its “friends around the world” to “address our significant demands in the security department.”

Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself by preventing Hamas and Hizbullah – through which, he said, Iran “tries to keep Israel in its hold” – from acquiring weapons with which to attack Israel. “The cabinet decision is aimed at this, at tightening the security blockade,” he said.

The prime minister then warned that Israel was about to contend with more flotillas aiming to break the blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory, asserting that Iran and Hizbullah were behind the latest such initiatives.

Also on Monday, Netanyahu told ministers and MKs that his security personnel had forbidden him from driving on Highway 443, a section of which was recently opened to Palestinian traffic.

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