PRC: No change in demands for Shalit deal - Israel News, Ynetnews

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Captive Soldier

Shalit: 942 days in captivity Reproduction photo
Shalit: 942 days in captivity Reproduction photo

PRC: No change in demands for Shalit deal

Palestinian organization's spokesman says no progress made in kidnapped soldier's issue. 'The Israelis are wrong if they believe the war will help them pressure us on Shalit'

Ali Waked
Published: 01.22.09, 12:34 / Israel News

The Hamas movement said Thursday that no progress had been made in the talks aimed at securing a deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, despite Israeli media reports.


A source in the Palestinian organization told Ynet, "If the Israelis want to talk and discuss, they know where, how and with whom, but the people in Israel should know that its government is not doing a thing to advance the issue."


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Abu Mujahed, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, also said that there was no news on the Shalit issue.


"The Israelis are wrong if they think the war will help them pressure us on Shalit. Our demands have not changed: The entire list of prisoners we demanded, and in addition, launching talks on lifting the siege."


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was asked earlier Thursday about the opportunity to return Shalit now that the military operation in Gaza was over, and replied, "I believe the questions about Shalit are legitimate, but my response will not advance his release. I am working, I have worked and I will work for his release.


"I read speculations and assumptions in the newspapers. People ascribe stances which I never had, to other people as well, on the Shalit issue. Even if I answer your questions about it, this won't create an opportunity to bring Gilad home."


He added that the military operation in Gaza "created leverages which could speed up Shalit's return to Israel."


No comment on injury reports

Nonetheless, Abu Mujahed stated that serious negotiations aimed at listing the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip will lead to the start of a discussion on the Shalit issue, but that if the crossings are not opened no progress will be made.


The PRC spokesman refused to address reports which surfaced at the start of Operation Cast Lead that Shalit had been injured, saying "no comment".


He also noted that there would be no information for free on Shalit's fate and condition.


In response to the reports that Israeli sources, including the Shin Bet chief, are willing to transfer some of the prisoners to the Strip or abroad, Abu Mujahed said that this would be part of the negotiations and therefore it should not be discussed on the media.


Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who met her European counterparts on Wednesday night, told a press conference that the crisis in Gaza would not be resolved so long as Gilad Shalit remains in Hamas' hands.


The EU foreign ministers met in Brussels to declare their intention to contribute units, vessels, and technological means in order to curb weapon transfers from Iran to Hamas. Livni and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana both agreed that each of the countries would allot resources to fight the smuggling.


Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into the Gaza Strip 942 days ago.


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