Retired IDF officers: Schalit must be part of any cease-fire deal

The 11, members of Yisrael Hazaka Party, send letter to Olmert, Barak and Livni.

Gilad Schalit 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gilad Schalit 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Eleven retired senior IDF officers have written a letter to the senior political echelon, demanding that the government include the release of captured soldier Gilad Schalit in any future cease-fire agreement. The 11, who are members of the Yisrael Hazaka Party, headed by Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Efraim Sneh, sent the letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. "Operation Cast Lead has created a one-time opportunity to bring back soldier Gilad Schalit, who has been held hostage for more than two years," the letter reads. "Now that Hamas is cornered, it is possible to force it to release Schalit on different conditions than before the military operation. "This is why we were astounded to learn that it was decided not to include the release of Schalit as one of the conditions to end the military operation," the letter says. The officers stressed that they were all familiar with the operational limitations of any prisoner exchange when a war ends. "We are also not fans of the approach to release prisoners at any cost. However, missing out on the opportunity that emerges from Operation Cast Lead is an unforgivable act that contradicts the IDF's values, to which we have educated generations of soldiers," the letter continues. Among the other officers who signed the letter are Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Goren, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Shlomo Inbar and Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Eli Levy.