Gilad Shalit

Israel champion Burt is Middle East minister

By Martin Bright, May 21, 2010

The appointment of Alistair Burt as Middle East Minister in the Foreign Office sends as clear a message as possible about the direction of the new government in the region. Mr Burt is listed as an officer in the parliamentary group of Conservative Friends of Israel and has been passionate in campaigning for visiting rights to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held hostage by Hamas for the past four years.

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Russian President to Hamas: Free Shalit

By Jessica Elgot, May 12, 2010

Russia’s President Dmitri Medvedev has called for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit at a meeting with Hamas leaders in Damascus.

President Medvedev also called for the Middle East to rid itself of nuclear weapons and signed a bilateral agreement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia is the only country which has direct relations with Hamas.

President Medvedev’s spokeswoman, Natalya Timkova, said: “The Russian president urged solving the problem of releasing Israeli citizen Gilad Shalit as soon as possible."

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Hamas release 'dead Gilad Shalit' cartoon

By Jessica Elgot, April 27, 2010
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has condemned a Palestinian animated film showing captured soldier Gilad Shalit in a coffin.

Hamas denies that the film is officially sanctioned by them.

Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Zahar said that the film, which was released by the group’s military wing, “does not reflect the official position of Hamas”.

Mr Zahar said: “We have not killed in the past and will never kill captive Israeli soldiers. Our morals prevent us from doing so."

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European Parliament calls for Gilad Shalit release

By Jessica Elgot, March 11, 2010

The European Parliament have passed a motion calling for the immediate release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

MEPs from across the political spectrum signed a letter to EU Foreign Policy chief Lady Catherine Ashton, who will visit Israel and Palestinian areas next week. Israel will open the Erez crossing into Gaza for Lady Ashton’s visit.

Gilad Shalit, 23, was abducted almost four years ago by Hamas terrorists. No Red Cross members or negotiators have seen him, but videos and photographs have been released.

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'America is blocking the Shalit exchange'

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 25, 2010

The talks over a prisoner deal in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit could be released are set to resume over the next few days with the return of the German mediator to the region.
The talks have been frozen for almost two months following Hamas's failure to respond to Israel's latest proposal to release almost 500 Palestinians prisoners, with a quarter of them sent into exile abroad, away from the West Bank. Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during a visit to Russia that this was Israel's last offer.

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Hamas: Gilad Shalit deal has 'failed'

By Jessica Elgot, February 2, 2010

Negotiations to rescue kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit have collapsed, Hamas’s Mahmoud Zahar has claimed.

Mr Zahar, a founder of Hamas, and one of its most militant commanders, told the BBC that it was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had caused the “failure” of the talks.

He said: "After the involvement of Benjamin Netanyahu, it appears we have gone one step back. As of now the process has failed."

Israel has been in talks for months through German mediator Gerhard Conrad over a huge prisoner swap for the abducted 23-year-old corporal.

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Netanyahu ‘blasted’ Gilad Shalit negotiator

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 28, 2010

According to reports, Israel’s senior negotiator in the talks to free captured soldier Gilad Shalit was severely criticised by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for overstepping his mandate.

The negotiator, Hagai Hadas, had initially agreed to some of Hamas’s demands before being censured by Mr Netanyahu, who appeared to blame him for offering too much to Hamas.

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Gilad Shalit latest deal emerges

By Jessica Elgot, January 5, 2010

The German mediator brokering a deal with Hamas to free Gilad Shalit has presented Israel’s latest proposal to the group in Gaza.

Gerhard Conrad held a meeting with senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, who is expected to reject the latest offer from Israel.

Hamas wants 1,200 Palestinian prisoners in return for Shalit, 23, who was captured in 2006.

Israel has been reluctant to release some of those on the list, including those responsible for deadly terror attacks. It has agreed to 980 releases.

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Hamas 'may kidnap more IDF if no Shalit deal'

By Jessica Elgot, December 30, 2009

Hamas has hinted that it may kidnap more IDF soldiers if a deal for Gilad Shalit is not sealed.

According to Ha’aretz, one of Hamas’s leaders abroad, Osama Hamdan, has said that although negotiations were continuing with German mediator Gerhard Conrad, the organisation would not rule out further kidnappings if no agreement could be reached with the Israelis.

Israel and Hamas are said to be hammering out a deal involving 450 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the 23-year-old kidnapped soldier.

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Hamas weighs up 'last offer' for Shalit

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 30, 2009

The main obstacle remaining to the Gilad Shalit prisoner deal is the number of Palestinian prisoners who will not be allowed to return to their homes in the West Bank.

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