Gaza schalit mural 248.88.
(photo credit: AP)
The fate of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit will be similar to that of missing IAF navigator Ron Arad if Israel does not accept the conditions of Hamas for his release, a senior Hamas official declared on Wednesday.
Abdel Latif Qanou, a Hamas representative in the northern Gaza Strip, said that the abduction of IDF soldiers was the only way to gain the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
"The kidnapping of Israeli soldiers has become a strategic vision for Hamas," Qanou said in a statement marking Palestinian Prisoners' Day. "In the past, this was a tactical move endorsed by [Hamas's armed wing] Izaddin al-Kassam already in 1988 with the kidnapping of [IDF Sgt.] Avi Sasportas."
Qanou said that Hamas was determined to do everything it could to secure the release of all Palestinians from Israeli prisons, regardless of their political affiliations. "We will use all available methods regardless of the price to release our prisoners," he added. "International diplomacy, false promises and lousy agreements won't do anything for our prisoners."
The Hamas official warned that unless Israel accepted all the demands of the captors, Schalit's fate would be similar to that of Ron Arad.
A Hamas representative in the Gaza Strip said that his movement was waiting to hear from the new Israeli government about its position regarding the possibility of reaching a prisoner exchange agreement between the two sides.
"The talks over the release of Schalit are currently frozen," the official said. "We still haven't heard from the new government in Israel."
The Hamas official told The Jerusalem Post that the captors' demands remained unchanged. He said that without the release of hundreds of prisoners from Israeli jails, "Schalit would never see daylight."