Noam Shalit
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Aviva Shalit, Gilad's mother
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Noam Shalit: Olmert not giving up on Gilad

Father of captive soldier says after private meeting with PM, 'The talks are not deadlocked…The prime minister is still working on the matter'. Meanwhile, ministers say final decision on prisoner release likely to be up to next government

"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is still working on the Gilad matter and is not giving up, this will go on until the last moment," said Noam Shalit, father of captive soldier Gilad Tuesday evening after his meeting with the prime minister.


The private meeting was called after a three-hour cabinet meeting in which the ministers were briefed on the failed efforts towards the soldier's release.


"We received all kinds of clarifications and explanations during the meeting we had this morning with envoy Ofer Dekel. We are on the same page," the father told reporters.


"The prime minister is still working on the Gilad matter and negotiations – he is not giving up," he continued, "This will go on until the last moment and we hope that efforts will also be stepped up in order to reach some kind of achievement in the time that is left for this government that will bring us closer to seeing Gilad at home.


"I wouldn't say that the talks reached a deadlock. It's a fact that they were stopped, but I am not betting on the talks. The fact that there have been talks all throughout these three years, all throughout these one thousand days, does not mean that it will all be over in the next session.


"The feelings, disappointments, and hopes are not relevant. We have been dealing with these hopes, disappointments and expectations for a thousand days now. What's important now is actions, and not hopes and expectations."


'No gov't will accept Hamas' demands'

During the cabinet meeting, ministers were briefed by Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin and Olmert's envoy Ofer Dekel, who managed the talks in Cairo.

Family returns to protest tent (Photo: AFP)


Ministers leaving the meeting said it was decided to publish some of the names of terrorists Hamas demanded in return for Shalit, to give the public an idea of how "senior" the prisoners are.


Some of the names of prisoners Israel is willing to release may also be published. Ministers refused to comment on the content of the meeting, but said the current round of talks seemed to be over, and that the next government will have to be the one to solve the matter.


At the end of the meeting, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann said, "No government will be able to accept Hamas' demands.


"The prime minister was ready to make far-reaching concessions on this matter, way beyond what some of the ministers were willing to accept. Nonetheless, Hamas' demands have reaches such dimensions that we believe no government in Israel will be able to accept."


פרסום ראשון: 03.17.09, 18:47
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