'Arab Spring played a key role in producing Schalit deal'

Prime minister's spokesman says changes in Mideast led Hamas to make 'more pragmatic' choices; MKs throw support behind Schalit deal.

Netanyahu, Cabinet meeting_311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Netanyahu, Cabinet meeting_311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman Yoav Hendel said Tuesday night that the changes in the Middle East and the upheaval throughout the Arab World played a key role in bringing about the deal for Schalit's release.
"The so-called Arab Spring and the changes in the region have created this opportunity," Hendel said. "The change has also led Hamas to take a more pragmatic approach and enabled the government to negotiate and make the deal."
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Hendel said that the price Israel will pay is "difficult, but was enough to be brought the cabinet."
Hendel dismissed claims that swap would strengthen Hamas and undermine Fatah. "We are still calling on Fatah to return to negotiations, and are not interested in toppling or weakening Fatah."
"This is a difficult balance between insuring the security of Israeli citizens and bringing Gilad home."
MK Miri Regev (Likud), chairwoman of the Knesset Lobby to Free Gilad Schalit, welcomed on Netanyahu's announcement on Tuesday that a deal had been reached with Hamas over the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit.
"The time has come after 1,900 days to return the soldier in captivity Gilad Schalit home," a statement from Regev said.
"I assume that the defense establishment will know how to complete its important work to defend the state and its citizens," Regev added.
Interior Minister and Shas chairman Eli Yishai announced on Tuesday night that, after consulting with Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, all members of his faction would support the Gilad Schalit deal, Army Radio reported.
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