Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon
Kidnapped Corporal Gilad Shalit
Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon
Photo: Hagai Aharon
Eyal Avitan, brother of Sgt. Adi Avitan who was kidnapped and killed by Hizbullah
Photo: Hagai Aharon

Bereaved brother: Israel should negotiate Shalit's release

Should Israel hold negotiations to secure the release of Gilad Shalit? Brother of Sgt. Adi Avitan, who was kidnapped and killed by Hizbullah, say government should negotiate a prisoner exchange deal

Less than a day before the expiration of an ultimatum issued by the abductors of Corporal Gilad Shalit, the question of whether Israel should hold talks with the kidnappers under pressure is being discussed.


Eyal Avitan, brother of Sgt. Adi Avitan who was kidnapped and killed by Hizbullah, told Ynet on Monday: "Obviously we need to negotiate. We need to pay a price and he who says no is lying to himself."


"I estimate that the Shalit family is under a lot of pressure and is feeling helpless, which only makes things more difficult. Of course the families believe there is a need to hold negotiations but the question is with whom?" he said.


"We need to pay a price, and maybe that's not convenient for the State of Israel, but a price has to be paid and there is nothing we can do," he said.


Expert: Gov't position understandable


Dr Mark Heller of Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies said: "I understand the government's position is not to hold direct negotiations and I see no reason to criticize this stance. But at the same time, it is known that indirect talks are being held through a third party. There is nothing wrong in using a third party to clarify what the real intentions and possibilities are so long as the process is not used for blackmail."


MKs voice mixed reactions


MK Arieh Eldad of National Union-NRP said: "A government that gives in to such an ultimatum can pack up and go home. Terror groups identified inconsistencies in the prime minister's words and actions behind the scene and are seeking to score points against Israel. It is forbidden to surrender."


United Arab List-Ta'al MK Ahmad Tibi called on the government to negotiate a prisoner exchange deal with the captors of Corporal Gilad Shalit.


Tibi said the government's use of military power will end the crisis tragically.


Pensioners' Party MK Itshac Galantee called on the government to issue a counter ultimatum for Hamas by threatening to launch a "Defense Shield 2" operation if Shalit is not freed by Tuesday morning.


"We need to issue an ultimatum according to which Israel will stop its military incursion into Gaza if Gilad Shalit is freed," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 07.03.06, 13:22
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