Netanyahu: There's no Gilad Shalit deal yet

By Jessica Elgot, November 23, 2009
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A Palestinian newspaper reported a prisoner swap deal for kidnapped Gilad Shalit is imminent

A Palestinian newspaper reported a prisoner swap deal for kidnapped Gilad Shalit is imminent

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has slammed reports of a prisoner swap deal to rescue kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, claiming any deal would have to be approved by the cabinet.

Mr Netanyahu said that reports that a deal wth Hamas, for the release of the 23-year-old soldier, was imminent, were “not credible and some of them are even intentionally distorted.”

He said that no deal had been finalised, and blamed “foreign media” for whipping up a storm around the negotiations.

“Efforts to secure Gilad Shalit's release are continuously under way, out of the media's view, and we have no intentions of commenting beyond that," said Mr Netanyahu.

The Hamas-supporting newspaper Al Risala had reported earlier that a prisoner swap deal for Mr Shalit hinged on the release of just one Palestinian prisoner, whom the newspaper did not name.

Mr Shalit’s parents, Aviva and Noam, have met the main Israeli negotiator Hagai Hadas at Kirya’s military base in Tel Aviv. They are scheduled to meet cabinet ministers in Jerusalem later.

Noam Shalit, speaking to reporters after the meeting with Mr Hadas, said: "We can't say anything at this stage, and there is nothing to add. We would be happy to include you in our joy, if that happens.

He added: “I am still not reassured. I've participated in far more interesting meetings in my life.”

    Last updated: 1:00pm, November 24 2009