Netanyahu confirms Schalit talks were renewed

Israeli sources say Gerhard Konrad visited Gaza to negotiate with Hamas officials in bid to secure kidnapped soldier's release.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 17, 2010 09:05
1 minute read.
Gilad Schalit demo in Rome

Gilad Schalit image + dad 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu confirmed to Army Radio that negotiations with Hamas to release captive soldier Gilad Schalit were renewed, Sunday morning.

Government sources on Saturday had already confirmed reports that German mediator Gerhard Konrad went to Gaza three weeks ago to speak with Hamas officials in relation to the negotiations, Channel 2 reported.

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According to the report the mediator was in Gaza three weeks ago.

Noam Schalit on Saturday responded to media reports of the German mediator's trip to Gaza, saying that he had no knowledge of such a trip.

"The answers lie with the Prime Minister's Office," said Schalit. He added that he could not confirm or deny the report.

Konrad, the German mediator working for Schalit's release, visited Gaza two weeks ago, according to a statement by senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk in the London-based al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday.

According to the al-Hayat report, Konrad met with the senior Hamas officials, but Abu Marzouk did not reveal any of the details discussed at the meeting, aside from stating that Hamas' position regarding a potential prisoner exchange has not changed.

Noam's remarks and the report of Konrad's visit came after Schalit criticized the European Union on Sunday for not having done enough to pressure Hamas to release his son, who also holds French citizenship.

“When there is a need to pressure Israel, the European Union knows how to do that very well,” Schalit said, evincing a belief in European double-standards regarding Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Schalit spoke after meeting briefly with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos. The two men visited Noam and his wife, Aviva, at the protest tent just outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, where they exchanged pleasantries with the couple who have waited for their son’s return since he was first captured on the Gaza border in June 2006.


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