Ashkenazi: IDF can’t free Schalit

Former chief of staff Ashkenazi explains that Hamas is hiding captive IDF solider in a way which makes it almost impossible to find him.

Gabi Ashkenazi 311 (photo credit: Yoni Reif)
Gabi Ashkenazi 311
(photo credit: Yoni Reif)
The military is not capable of facilitating the release of captive soldier Gilad Schalit, former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi said on Wednesday.
“I failed. It must be admitted that we cannot use military force to release Schalit, Ashkenazi said during a speech at the business forum at Bar-Ilan University, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate.
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“It is my dream to see a helicopter landing at the Erez crossing with Gilad Schalit, and I phone his parents to inform them that we have released him,” Ashkenazi said. “Hamas is hiding him in a way that makes it almost impossible for us to find him. We do not know where he is.”
Ashkenazi said that, in his opinion, even if the IDF attacks Hamas leaders, it will not release Schalit.
“If we don’t find a military option to bring about his release, then we have to admit that we have to pay a reasonable price for the release,” Ashkenazi continued.
Earlier on Wednesday, Schalit’s grandfather Zvi Schalit said that he was not disappointed that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu failed to mention Gilad’s case in his speech to Congress on Tuesday.
“It’s not the right forum to bring up Gilad,” Schalit told Army Radio. “The public knows that the prime minister is the one who holds the key to Gilad’s freedom. As such, because of the high emotions of the affair and the [presence of] American soldiers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it was not appropriate.”
The Schalit family said that Ashkenzi’s willingness to admit defeat showed what a valuable chief of staff he had been.
“The time has come to end the disgrace and to demand that the prime minister listen and pay the price for Gilad that he deserves, given the absence of other alternatives,” the family said in a message it sent out to the media.
“We demand that the new chief of staff immediately secure Gilad’s freedom, so that he won’t also have to admit that he failed,” the family said.