Protest for Shalit's release
Photo: Mati Elmalich
Mashaal. Mulling tape
Hamas is considering handing over another videotape of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, the organization's official journal reported.
Al-Risala cited sources from Hamas, who say the request for an additional tape ahead of the Passover holiday came from representatives of the International Red Cross.
"Will Shalit once again go up on video screens?" the journal asked in its headline. One source was quoted as saying that Hamas "is positively considering sending a new tape of Shalit, similarly to the previous time, but for this Israel must pay a price."
For the previous tape sent by Shalit's abductors, in October of 2009, Israel released 19 Palestinian prisoners held in its jails.
"A tape with images of Gilad Shalit will constitute pressure on Israeli society and Netanyahu to start promoting an exchange deal with Hamas," a senior Hamas source was quoted as saying.
The report added that the request was being weighed by the organization's politburo chief, Khaled Mashaal, who has previously rejected such proposals out-of-hand.
"We refuse to cede any demand we have made for the release of the soldier Shalit, and the responsibility for the failed deal rests solely with Israel," another source was quoted as saying.
On Monday six former senior officials with the defense establishment held a press conference calling for the immediate release of the kidnapped soldier, who has been in captivity for nearly five years.
"We must make a difficult and brave decision and not compromise," former Shin Bet chief Yaakov Peri told the press.
"The State of Israel has the power, and the government has a sacred duty to return a living captive soldier to his family. We can withstand this the same way we have withstood it in the past, when we paid a heavy price for much less."
The Red Cross had no comment on the report, saying that the organization was in touch with Shalit's parents and would not reveal any progress being made in the case.
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