Israel Political Brief October 24, 2011: Egypt Will Release Illan Grapel for Egyptian Prisoners



Egypt Will Release Grapel for Egyptian Prisoners

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-24-11

Egypt has agreed to release dual American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel in exchange for 25 Egyptians being held in Israeli prisons.ilan grapel alleged israeli spy arrested in egypt

The Egyptians, including three minors, are not security prisoners, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on the deal released Monday evening. They are being held on charges such as crossing the border illegally, drug trafficking and holding unlicensed weapons, according to reports.

Grapel, arrested in Cairo in June, was accused of espionage. Later he was accused as well of incitement and the attempted arson of the country’s Interior Ministry building and police headquarters in Cairo during January’s riots in the capital.

The agreement is subject to the approval of Israel’s Security Cabinet, which will meet to discuss the swap Tuesday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The agreement comes less than a week after captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in an agreement reached with the terrorist organization Hamas.

Egyptian security officials said Grapel entered the country shortly after the start of the Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and posed as a foreign correspondent. A law student at Emory University, Grapel allegedly said he was Muslim on the visa application that he filed with the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and then entered Egypt using his American passport.

Grapel denies he is a spy. He says he came to Egypt to intern for a nongovernmental organization that assists refugees from Sudan and elsewhere.

Grapel is a New Yorker who moved to Israel following his graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He joined the Israeli army, served as a paratrooper during the Second Lebanon War and was wounded in Southern Lebanon in August 2006.


Israel Political Brief October 24, 2011: Former PM Ariel Sharon is Responsive



Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-24-11

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is responsive and has gained weight, his son told The New York Times.arik sharon

Sharon, who has been in a coma since suffering a stroke nearly six years ago, moves his fingers when requested and looks at people when he is awake, Gilad Sharon told the newspaper on Oct. 20, in advance of the release of his biography of his father, “Sharon: The Life of a Leader,” set to be released in Hebrew and English on Oct. 26.

Ariel Sharon, 83, remains in a hospital near Tel Aviv following a brief stay at his ranch in southern Israel.

Gilad Sharon wrote in his book that he gave his father the idea of unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza, according to the Times. His accounts of his father’s dealings with current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are unflattering to Netanyahu.

Gilad Sharon, a member of his father’s Kadima Party, is said to be interested in entering politics.


Israel Political Brief October 24, 2011: President Shimon Peres Visits Gilad Shalit



Peres Meets Shalit

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-24-11

President Shimon Peres visited the Shalit residence at Mitzpe Hila in the Galilee Monday and met freed hostage Gilad Shalit and his parents, Aviva and Noam.

The Shalits waited for Peres at the entrance to their home and shook hands with him heartily. The president then hugged Gilad and said, “You have no idea how excited I am to meet you here in your home, alive, healthy and whole.”
He praised Shalit for his ability to survive the harsh experience of captivity and isolation.shalit peres

The president said that “the entire nation, from the tender ages to the veteran citizens, was mobilized to bring you back. It was a mobilization from depths of love and devotion and your homecoming is an amazing personal and national event.”
Peres told the Shalits that he is “glad that they were stubborn and did not let up for a moment.”

Gilad Shalit said, “Thank you for all of the support and assistance you gave to my family.” His father Noam said, “We appreciate and thank you for all that you did during all these years, we know that you were involved behind the scenes and we needed all the help we could get.”
Aviva Shalit said that her son was “a true hero.” She thanked Peres, but also thanked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “who took a courageous decision to bring Gilad back to life and to prove that mutual commitment are not just hollow words but a value and I believe that the entire nation of Israel thanks you for this.”


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