Gilad Shalit

'No more light touch for Hamas prisoners'

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

Human rights groups will not challenge the Netanyahu government’s new regime for Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails.

A committee headed by former Justice Minister Professor Daniel Friedman recommended that Hamas prisoners should be denied academic studies, media access and have their family visits limited. “We might be the only democracy in the Middle East,” explained Professor Friedman, “but we don’t have to be the only suckers.”

More..

Olmert blames Shalit’s parents

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 19, 2009

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has blamed the intensive media campaign for the release of Gilad Shalit for the breakdown of the talks over a possible prisoner deal — and told his family that they may have harmed his cause.

This week the Israeli government announced that it had refused Hamas demands for the release of 450 senior terrorists, many of them jailed for life for murder.

More..

Report raises hopes of possible Shalit deal

March 13, 2009

The end of the ordeal of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit may be moving closer - but at a very slow pace.

A newspaper report in Israel has claimed that it had agreed a deal that would free 450 Hamas prisoners in exchange for Mr Shalit.

However, according to the report in Haaretz, there were still areas where the two sides were a long way apart.

Quoting Palestinian sources in Cairo, the newspaper said that Israel wanted some of the prisoners to be deported abroad or to Gaza rather than returned home to the West Bank.

More..

'Swap Shalit for the killers of our sons'

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 12, 2009

Parents of slain IDF soldiers have called upon the Israeli government to release their sons’ killers in return for the freedom of Gilad Shalit.

As Aviva and Noam Shalit launched a “last hour” campaign for the freedom of their son last Sunday, many relatives of IDF members whose killers could be freed in return for Gilad’s release came out to support them.

More..

Israel makes last-gasp attempt at Shalit deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 26, 2009

The efforts to secure a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas are to proceed through two different channels in a last-gasp attempt to finalise the deal before a new right-wing government is formed in Israel.

Negotiations are taking place simultaneously in Cairo and Europe through joint mediation by the French and Qatari governments, both of which are eager to deepen their involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

More..

No truce with Hamas until Shalit is freed

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 19, 2009

Israel will refuse to agree a new truce with Hamas unless the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit is part of the deal.

The decision, approved unanimously by a cabinet vote on Wednesday, came as both Israel and Hamas appeared to toughen their negotiating positions.

The indirect talks over a ceasefire, mediated by the Egyptian government, reached an apparent impasse this week despite an earlier agreement by the Hamas leadership in Gaza to link a prisoner exchange deal to a two-year truce.

More..

Analysis: Should Israel swap one man for many?

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 12, 2009

The impending deal over the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners — many serving life sentences for terror — to secure the return of Gilad Shilat, touches upon one of the most sensitive points in the collective Israeli psyche.

It also an issue with immense political, security and social ramifications, whether in terms of the price being paid for his release, or the implications of allowing him to continue languishing in captivity.

Rami Igra, the former head of Mossad’s Prisoners and MIAs department, opposes such deals.

More..

Breakthrough in deal to free Shalit

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 12, 2009

The political turmoil in Israel and the pressure on the Hamas leadership following Operation Cast Lead have brought about the first major breakthrough in talks over the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the main broker between the two sides, has said that an agreement could be achieved by next week.

More..

Free Shalit is Olmert’s final goal

By Yaakov Katz, January 29, 2009

With general elections two weeks away and Israel’s operation in Gaza against Hamas seemingly completed, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has set a new goal for himself before he leaves office — the return of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit.

Despite the military action, the likelihood of a prisoner swap being agreed in the coming weeks is believed to have grown since Israel ended Operation Cast Lead.

More..

Renewed hope for talks to free Shalit

January 22, 2009

Israel hopes to renew negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit, writes Yaakov Katz, if the new ceasefire holds, defence officials said this week.

Talks over Mr Shalit’s release have been suspended since the last ceasefire between Hamas and Israel took effect in June. But military officials said it was now possible that Operation Cast Lead will cause the group to ease its demand for the release of 1,400 Palestinian prisoners.

More..