Mofaz: Truce without Schalit was a mistake

Transportation minister says "it's not too late" to secure soldier's release; Livni: I refuse to politicize Schalit issue.

mofaz 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
mofaz 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz on Monday spoke out against the Gaza cease-fire, claiming the agreement with Hamas should not have been made without securing the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. Speaking to high school students in Raman Gan, Mofaz said that "the 'calm,' which was achieved months ago, was a mistake without Gilad Schalit's release. That's the reason I voted against it." "I thought then that if we opted for a long cease-fire, we should to first return Schalit," he said, adding, "It's not too late. The State of Israel must to do everything [possible] to return Gilad Schalit home." Mofaz emphasized that the cease-fire is not just an issue for the government of Israel, and that Hamas needs to want it just as much, if not more. Regarding Sunday's Hamas rally in Gaza, where loyalists paraded a mock-captured IDF soldier, Mofaz said that anyone looking at the situation in the Strip "understands that we're dealing with a terror organization which hates Israel, and strikes the most sensitive cords of the nation of Israel." "The responsibility lies with those that organize terrorism," he said. "We need to go back to deterrence, so that [Hamas Prime Minister] Ismail Haniyeh won't think of organizing [another] celebration in front of 150,000 people, and the eyes of the entire world, on account of a captured Israeli soldier." Earlier, whilst visiting a Tel Aviv high school, Foreign Minister and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni said that she refused to politicize the issue of Schalit's release, as it would be "wrong and unworthy" to do so. "I'm willing to give up parts of Israel in order to live here peacefully and sustain Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, but security must be provided - you cannot just throw a key to the other side of the border and say that everything will be fine," she added.