PRC: Israel too weak to have info on Schalit

Comments come after Ashkenazi told cadets Israel knows where Schalit is; Army downplays statements.

Ashkenazi 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ashkenazi 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As talks for the release of Gilad Schalit remain in a deadlock, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi caused a public stir on Monday when he seemed to indicate that Israel knew exactly where the kidnapped soldier is being held as well as the identity of those who are holding him. Speaking to new Armored Corps recruits at the Tel Hashomer base, Ashkenazi said, "We know that Gilad Schalit is alive, where he is being held and by whom, and I hope we can promptly bring the episode to an end." "I believe it is extremely important for soldiers to know that if something happens to them, there is someone who will make every effort bring them back," he added. In response to a remark by one of the recruits that Schalit's continued captivity was "disturbing," Ashkenazi said: "There is no doubt that we need to bring him back and make every effort to do so. I can't say I'm happy, but we completed the mission in the North and returned Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. Unfortunately, they weren't alive, but we brought them back for Jewish burial. "I don't want to go into details, but great efforts are being made on all levels on the Gilad Schalit issue." The IDF Spokesperson's Office on Monday downplayed the comment and said there was nothing new in Ashkenazi's statement and that he merely meant that Israel knew the soldier was being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In response to Ashkenazi's statement, Abu Mujahid, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the groups behind Schalit's abduction, said: "Israel's army is too weak to be able to get any information about Schalit." "Israel tried to get information about Schalit, but all their attempts were abortive, and the resistance proved over two years its ability to control this issue and achieve victory over Israel," Abu Mujahid told the Palestinian Ma'an news agency. "Ashkenazi should know that Schalit will not see the light except through a [prisoner] exchange deal where we will get our prisoners freed."