Noam Schalit blames both Israel, PA

Says Israel can't argue about "cost" of freeing Gilad, says PM has "failed."

noam shalit 298.88 ch 10 (photo credit: Channel 10)
noam shalit 298.88 ch 10
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Following strong statements by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Sunday's cabinet meeting that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had "clearly violated" a series of commitments to Israel, including a promise to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit, Schalit's father, Noam, told Army Radio that both the PA and Israel were responsible for failing to free his son. Schalit said that when he had first sat down with Olmert, some two weeks after the kidnapping, the prime minister had warned him that it might take some time to recover his son. But now, nine months later, Schalit said, there has been "nothing except promises and spin." "As far as getting results," Schalit continued, "[Olmert] has failed." However, Schalit was clear that both Israel and the Palestinians were at fault for failing to release Gilad. "It takes two to tango. There have been a lot of promises by the Palestinians that haven't been kept...Now, they're negotiating about numbers - how many prisoners will be freed for Gilad." "We can't make business decisions," Schalit said. "We can't argue about numbers and cost." Schalit recalled the failed negotiations for IAF navigator Ron Arad, who was shot down over Lebanon in 1986. "We've seen the heavy price the missing navigator's family paid," he said. According to Schalit, the time has come to change the teams in charge of negotiations for Gilad. Schalit stressed that he had nothing personal against anyone, but said that in general, none of the teams working on the problem had been sufficiently energetic. "It seems like they've gotten tired after so long," he said. "This year we won't celebrate Pessah," Schalit told the interviewer. "Pessah is about freedom, and we don't have that in our hearts. We want Gilad to return from imprisonment to freedom. It's been nine months, and we're not giving up."