Hamas-owned "Falasteen" journal published a "rare and special" interview with captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, an interview, which, only at the end of the report, turned out to be fabricated.
The paper's political analyst Mustafa al-Sawwaf, was allegedly given the opportunity to interview the soldier in captivity, but at the end of his article, the journalist writes, "All this was in a dream, which I woke up from, after recording this interview."
The journalist opened the report noting that Shalit responded to his questions in Hebrew and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. He also noted that Shalit seemed to be in good condition, weighing about 60 kilograms (roughly 132 pounds).
In response to al-Sawwaf's question about how long he has been held in captivity, Shalit supposedly said, "I am now approaching the end of the fourth year, ever since I fell into the hands of the resistance, after they took me out of my tank. I was injured, but I was treated and now I am in good health, as you can see.
"I would not be exaggerating if I said I didn't expect the treatment to be so good. Especially after I learned in school and in the army that the Arabs are murderers and criminals and that they deserve to die," Shalit "said" in the fabricated interview.
"But these years I have spent here have proved to me that what I learned is not true and that they are people with feelings and that they love life and give civil and humane treatment, the opposite of what is said. I would like to end my words with a cry to my people – help me live, from your son, Gilad Shalit."
The "interview" comes at a time when the Shalit family is busy trying to keep the painful affair on the public agenda. On Sunday, a ceremony was held in northern Israel during which a large flag with the soldier's picture on it was waved.
Noam Shalit on Sunday (Photo: Avishag Shaar Yashuv)
Shalit's father, Noam, said in the ceremony: "Two prime ministers failed to bring Gilad back, and this flag here is as a reminder that Gilad continues to give a silent cry from the Hamas dungeons in which he demands only one thing: His freedom."
Earlier this week, it seemed Hamas is in no hurry to make progress in talks. A day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for a "solution to the problem of the captive soldier", the Islamic organization responded saying Shalit would not be set free without an "honorable" deal.
Medvedev, who held a three-way meeting with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal and Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus last week, said the leaders of Hamas should free the soldier "as soon as possible."
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into the Gaza Strip 1,422 days ago