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Photo: Noam Rotem
Captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit
Photo: Noam Rotem
Protest for Shalit's release
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Hamas: Israel won't get better deal on Shalit
After Barak says Shalit won't be released at any price, Hamas official tells Ynet organization wants deal based on conditions presented on first day after capture. 'Israel biding time to prove to public that it secured better deal,' he says
Just hours after Defense Minister Ehud Barak told a group of students that Gilad Shalit's release won't be "at any price", a Hamas official told Ynet that Israel is trying to make talks on the kidnapped soldier's release more difficult.

 

"The Shalit family is paying the price of the negotiation ploys that their government is trying to carry out in a bid to present a better deal than its predecessor," said the Hamas official.

 

According to him, Israel is trying to bide time by presenting new versions of the deal.

 

"Everything revolves around the desire to show the Israeli public that this time negotiations resulted in a different deal, but this won't be the case. The deal will be the same deal with the same heavy names. If we agree to a compromise, it will be exceedingly minimal and not one through which the Israeli side can say, 'We paid less'."

 

Hamas is insisting on reaching a deal on their terms. "We want a respectable deal that is based on the conditions we presented on the first day after the capture," said the source. However, he emphasized that negotiations are continuing in earnest. The source refused to confirm whether any sort of compromise was reached that will allow the deal to be completed by the Jewish High Holidays.

 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday that Israel was working to release captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, but would not do so "at any price."

 

No guarantee

Speaking to high school students in the south on the first day of the new school year, Barak said, "The State cannot guarantee your well-being or guarantee that you won't be taken captive. You are enlisting in the army to fight. This isn't Western Europe. Here only those who don't blink in the face of kidnappings, Qassam attacks and military cemeteries survive."

 

Amid reports that a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas was nearing completion, Barak said, "Not at any price. The State of Israel's best minds are working daily in an effort to bring Shalit home. It is a good thing that the public is demanding his return, but I suggest that Israelis not look at the situation in terms of a loss of way. We have faced difficult trials in the past and will face more in the future. We mustn't lose our cool and resilience."

 

In response to Barak's comments, Noam Shalit, the captive soldier's father, said the family expects "more actions and fewer words."

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told students at a Modi'in school, "We will bring Shalit home as soon as possible; we are continually thinking and working towards that end."

 

Shalit was kidnapped into Gaza on June 25, 2006.

 

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