VIDEO - The deadlock in negotiations for a prisoner swap deal is not sitting too well with Hamas.
The Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the organization's military wing, published Sunday a computer animated video entitled "The Sentiment in the Zionist Society regarding Shalit," threatening that captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit
will share the same fate as missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad
should progress not be made in talks.
The video shows Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, walking the streets of Israel
in another 20 years, clutching a picture of his son, who is still in captivity.
|Hamas' 3D video. 'Shalit won't see light of day'|
"We are addressing Zionist society, and not its leadership and elected officials, who don't see anything outside their personal interests and therefore are holding up the prisoner swap deal. The option still exists that we will reach an agreement in which Shalit will be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners," explained Hamas officials.
They added a threat to their message: "If the enemy continues its stubbornness, it will be sorry. But the regret will not have any significance. Shalit will not see the light of day until your government pays the price. If it rejects the conditions we have stipulated, you will have to pay a much higher price."
Hamas members clarified towards the end of the video that they intend to invest efforts in kidnapping additional Israelis, and threatened to do so on a much wider scale than has been seen thus far.
"The organization will continue its activities to get its hands on more of Shalit's friends – so many that the Zionist government will be forced to establish a new government ministry for addressing Zionist soldiers and captives," they said in the video.
Noam Shalit is seen in the animated clip walking towards this fictitious "prisoner affairs ministry."
Noam Shalit responded to the video's release on Sunday, saying, "It is a shame that Hamas leaders continue to choose psychologically warfare for the who-knows-what time against our family and against the Israeli public instead of addressing and authorizing the German prisoner swap deal that has been on their table for four months with no response."
Shalit referred to the letter sent 10 days ago to Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in Damascus, and noted, "With this conduct, Hamas leaders are giving preference to their own political interests over the interests of the Palestinian people, and thus are preventing the immediate release of Palestinian prisoners, and, in addition, the release of the civilian population in Gaza from a political and economic chokehold and continual suffering."
The captive soldier's father declined responding to his representation in the clip, and said only, "It is best that the Hamas leadership, instead of producing videos and presentations, be concerned with the interests of the Palestinian prisoners and the average Gaza civilians that have been hostages of their leaders for quite some time."
The Prime Minister's Office commented on the animated film, saying that "the cynical use of the Shalit family's sentiments by the Hamas leaders, only two days after Israel allowed the transfer of a child to a live-saving operation outside Gaza, testifies more than anything to the nature of this terror organization. This is another cowardly action by Hamas aimed at helping its leadership avoid making a decision about the recent mediation proposal."
According to an official at the PM's Office, "For months, Hamas' leaders have been avoiding responding to the Egyptian-brokered deal put on their table by the German mediator. This offer was reached with both sides and will lead to the immediate return of Gilad Shalit, safe and sound, to his family and to his people."
Hamas' video message comes on the heels of reports that talks mediated by Germany at the beginning of the month in a bid to renew prisoner swap negotiations have failed. Ynet has learned that Israel notified the Germany mediator of its refusal to release the senior officials that Hamas asked be included in a swap deal.
Among the contested Hamas prisoners apparently are Amna Muna, who murdered the young boy Ophir Rahum, and Ahlam Tamimi, who helped carry out a suicide attack.
Ahiya Raved contributed to this report