Noam Shalit's struggle continues
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Noam Shalit: ‘I’m happy their nightmare is over’
Father of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit expresses happiness for Regev, Goldwasser families saying he believes their case has no connection to release of his son; ‘each case needs to be discussed separately’
Noam Shalit, father of Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped over two years ago by Hamas said Sunday evening that he is happy for the families of kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser who received confirmation that the prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah was accepted by the government.


Shalit said to Ynet, “I am happy that the nightmare they endured for the last two years is coming to an end.” He added that he doesn’t believe that the confirmed deal reached on Sunday is connected to the release of his son. “Each case needs to be discussed separately,” he said.


In a show of solidarity, Miki Goldwasser, Ehud Goldwasser’s mother said that even when her son and his friend Eldad Regev return, their campaign will not end.


“We will continue in the struggle alongside Aviva and Noam Shalit. Even when our sons return, we will not stop struggling for their cause and supporting them until their son returns home safely,” she said.


According to the Shalit agreement, Palestinian prisoners will be released as well. The prisoners will be chosen solely by an Israeli governmental decision.


A simultaneous public struggle for the release of Gilad Shalit is ensuing. On Friday, dozens of mothers and women demonstrated for the release of Shalit at the Erez Crossing. They held signs saying, “Women for Gilad Shalit,” and “Let Gilad Shalit’s sun shine.”


A protest entitled “The time has come to release Gilad” was held at Mizpeh Hila on Wednesday marking two years since the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. Chen Arad, brother of missing in action Israeli navigator, Ron Arad said at the protest that “our leaders refer to the soldiers as if they themselves were emperors sending there gladiators to the battlefield.”


Hamas also commented on the Shalit deal on Sunday. Osama Al-Mazini, the Hamas spokesman for the Gilad Shalit case told the organization’s internet site that Hamas has not received a new official offer regarding the exchange deal.


According to him, his movement received an Egyptian invitation to Cairo in order to hold indirect negotiations with Israel regarding an agreement, but no official date was discussed.


Al- Mazini said that the Hamas does not intend on compromising the demands it set for the actualization of the deal. “All women and minors must be released without distinction and 1,000 additional prisoners who were sentenced to long-term imprisonment must be released according to Hamas’ determination.”


According to him, while the Hamas has not given up on its demands it can display flexibility regarding the manner in which the deal will be conducted. “We will not go back on our words, not regarding the number of prisoners or the particular criteria of the deal.


However, flexibility was apparent pertaining to the division into stages in order to grant the mediators the feeling that we are ready to complete the agreement,” said al-Mazini.


The Hamas senior official denied that the names of the prisoners on the list they turned in were agreed upon. According to him, “The occupation state has no right to oppose the list that Hamas submitted.”


Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and taken into the Gaza Strip 735 days ago.


Roee Nahmias contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.29.08, 20:17
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