Noam Schalit gives Carter letter for son

Former US president visits Israel en route to Gaza after meeting Hamas's Khaled Mashaal in Syria.

carter schalit 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
carter schalit 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Noam Schalit, father of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who has been held in captivity for almost three years, met former US president Jimmy Carter in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon and gave him a letter meant for his son. Carter, who monitored the Lebanese elections last week as head of an NGO which carries his name, arrived in Israel after visiting Damascus en route to the Gaza Strip. He promised to try his best to get the letter delivered to the captive soldier. Schalit was quoted by Israel Radio as saying he hoped Carter's lobbying on behalf of the Schalit family would bear fruit, as "he is the only American in contact with Hamas." He said he "did not receive any good news" from the Israeli government lately, but expressed hope that Hagai Hadas, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's point man on the Schalit dossier, would help secure his son's release. On Thursday, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told Khaled Mashaal, Hamas politburo chief in Damascus, that Israel was willing to release 650 Palestinian prisoners, among them Fatah members and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, but clarified that there were no new negotiations on the subject. Al Jareeda, a Kuwaiti paper, said Thursday that Suleiman told Mashaal to calculate his moves carefully because Schalit was "the only card" left in Hamas's hand and the organization was also unpopular in the wake of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.