Schalit family tries to get Rosh Hashana package to Gilad

Members of the Campaign to Free Gilad Schalit meet with Palestinian activists at Gaza border to plan rally.

mubarak netanyahu sharm 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
mubarak netanyahu sharm 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
The family of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit plans to coordinate their rally at the Gaza border on Wednesday with relatives of Hamas security prisoners inside the Strip, in a bid to pressure Hamas to hand Schalit a Rosh Hashana package from his hometown of Mitzpe Hila, in the Upper Galilee. Members of the Campaign to Free Gilad Schalit met with Palestinian activists at the Gaza border on Saturday afternoon, to plan details of Wednesday's event. It's part of a new slew of activities on Schalit's behalf that has been organized for this week by the campaign and the United Kibbutz Movement. Wednesday's rally was announced on Saturday night, in advance of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's visit to Cairo to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt has been mediating the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas on a prisoner swap. The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Saturday that Israel and Egypt will soon announce understandings that they have reached on negotiations for Schalit's release, and on peace talks with the Palestinians. The pan-Arab paper also reported that the prime minister's point man on Schalit, Hagai Hadas, visited Cairo last week and met with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, hours after the latter met with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal. Campaign to Free Gilad head Shimshon Liebman said on Saturday night he hoped that any positive rumors about Schalit's release would be proved true. But in the interim, the campaign is leaving nothing to chance. On Monday morning at 9, it will hold a short ceremony at Mitzpe Hila, after which a Rosh Hashana package for Schalit from his family and neighbors will leave the community. According to Yoel Marshak, who heads the United Kibbutz Movement's special assignments division, the package will then travel slowly throughout the country before arriving at the Erez crossing to the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday. One day earlier, on Wednesday, Schalit's father, Noam, and supporters will rally near Kibbutz Nahal Oz on the Gaza border. At the same time, the families of Hamas prisoners held in Israel will stage a rally in Gaza. They will then deliver 100 packages to the Schalit campaign designated for Hamas security prisoners. Once the campaign is satisfied that Schalit has received his Rosh Hashana package, it will ensure that the packages from the Hamas families are delivered to the prisoners, Marshak said. In the past the kibbutz movement has argued that Hamas family members should not be allowed to visit their loved ones in jail. Marshak said the issue was reciprocity. If Schalit's family cannot visit him, than the Hamas families should not be allowed prison visits either. But if Schalit can receive a package from his family, then the same should hold true for the Hamas prisoners, he said. Hamas has demanded the release of at least 450 terrorists in exchange for Schalit, among them prisoners responsible for murdering Israelis. On Saturday, Noam Schalit traveled to Sakhnin, where he shared a Ramadan evening break-fast meal with Israeli Arab activist Rafik Haleila, who has worked on behalf of his son's release. Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.