Israel Political Brief October 18, 2011: Gilad Shalit Returns Home to Israel

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Gilad Shalit Returns Home

Source: PMO

Gilad Shalit’s Meeting with IDF Representatives (video)

Shalit Family at Tel Nof IAF Base
Gilad Shalit with PM Netanyahu at Tel Nof IAF base
Gilad Shalit Meets with his Father Noam
Gilad Shalit with his Father Noam, PM Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Barak
Gilad Shalit Salutes PM Netanyahu
Gilad Shalit speaks with his family
PM Netanyahu Meets with Gilad Shalit

     גלעד שליט חזר הביתה

גלעד שליט ובני משפחתו עולים למסוק שלוקח אותם בחזרה הביתה למצפה הילה (וידאו)

גלעד שליט נוחת בבסיס חיל האויר תל נוף ומתקבל על ידי ראש הממשלה נתניהו, שר הביטחון ברק והרמטכ”ל רא”ל גנץ (וידאו)

ראש הממשלה נפגש עם המתווך הגרמני ועם נציג הקנצלרית מרקל

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו לאחר שחרור גלעד שליט

החייל גלעד שליט פגש את הוריו

גלעד שליט במפגש ראשוני עם נציגי צה”ל (וידאו)

ראש הממשלה נתניהו פוגש את גלעד שליט
גלעד שליט עם אביו נועם, ראש הממשלה נתניהו ושר הביטחון ברק
החייל גלעד שליט מצדיע לראש הממשלה נתניהו
משפחת שליט בבסיס תל נוף
גלעד שליט עם ראש הממשלה בהגעתו לבסיס בתל-נוף
גלעד שליט משוחח עם בני משפחתו
גלעד שליט נפגש עם אביו נועם
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Israel Political Brief October 18, 2011: Gilad Shalit Arrives Home After Meeting PM Netanyahu & National Leaders

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Gilad Shalit Arrives Home After Meeting National Leaders

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-18-11

A teary-eyed Israel, headed by the Shalit family, welcomed Gilad back home to Israel Tuesday after 1,941 days in captivity at the hands of Hamas and allied terrorists, some of whom continued to urge more kidnappings. He underwent medical tests before returning to his family home in the Galilee.

The soldier, who had changed into an IDF uniform, met his parents at the Tel Nof Air Force base near Tel Aviv after being initially received by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

The happiness, considered the fulfillment of the mitzvah of bringing back a Jew from captivity ,was mixed with the pain and fear that more Israelis will be murdered by the 1,027 terrorists and security prisoners who were freed in exchange for Shalit. That mitzvah hedged by halakha which is against redeeming a captive if it leads to more captives being taken.

In Gaza and Ramallah, thousands of Arabs wildly celebrated the return of the first batch of terrorists to Judea and Samaria. Others are to be deported.

Hamas leaders, including one of those released from jail, continued to call for more kidnappings of Israeli soldiers to gain the freedom of terrorists who were not included in the swap.

Yehiye Sinwar, who was freed by Israel after being sentenced for kidnapping and killing two soldiers, told Hamas television, “We shall spare no efforts to liberate the rest of our brothers and sisters. We urge the Al Qassam Brigades to kidnap more soldiers to exchange them for the freedom of our loved ones who are still behind bars”.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas showed willingness to unite with Hamas as he agreed to share the stage with the terrorist group’s local leaders during a welcoming ceremony in Ramallah.

gilad shalit
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via israelnn.com

Israel Political Brief October 18, 2011: Gilad Shalit’s father Noam speaks after emotional reunion

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Gilad Shalit’s father speaks after emotional reunion

Source: The Jewish Chronicle, 10-18-11

Gilad Shalit with Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and his father NoamGilad Shalit with Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and his father Noam

Gilad Shalit’s father Noam has describing meeting his son for the first time in more than five years.

He said: “Today, it feels like my son has been reborn.”

Mr Shalit told the assembled press in his home town of Mitzpe Hila what it was like to bring his son home. “He came down the stairs, into the house, and through the door he left so long ago.

“Gilad is feeling well, he has a few light wounds which have not been treated well, some are shrapnel wounds, and he has also had a lack of sunlight. But he is just very happy to be home.

He said his son would not be coming out to greet the press or his supporters. “Obviously he finds it hard to be exposed to a big crowd after being alone and isolated for so many days and years.

“He did not communicate with anyone in his own language, he only spoke to kidnappers or guards. We hope he can be rehabilitated as quick as possible with the help of the IDF. We hope he can go back to normal life.

“The pilot of the chopper flew us over the town and Gilad looked down and waved at everyone. He saw the support he was getting along the roads.

He thanked the solidarity movement, the activists in Mitzpe Hila, the IDF and IAF and the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said the decision to free more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners was “not easy.”

He added: “I feel for the bereaved families, we do understand their pain and the price paying for Gilad’s freedom.”

He said the family had sat down together for a meal and his son had discussed a ittle of what he went through in captivity. “He could listen to the radio, he had some TV, mostly Arabic TV stations. We didn’t ask for him for much, we just sat together, and he has not said much so far. But he did say that at the beginning he was treated very badly, but it had got better in last few years.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 18, 2011: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks Following the Release of Gilad Shalit – Transcript

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks Following the Release of Gilad Shalit

Source: PMO, 10-18-11

Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO

Citizens of Israel, today we are all united in joy and in pain.

Two-and-a-half years ago, I returned to the Prime Minister’s Office.  One of the principal and most complicated missions that I found on my desk, and which I set my heart to, was to bring our abducted soldier Gilad Shalit back home, alive and well.  Today, that mission has been completed.

It entailed a very difficult decision.  I saw the need to return home someone whom the State of Israel had sent to the battlefield.  As an IDF soldier and commander, I went out on dangerous missions many times.  But I always knew that if I or one of my comrades fell captive, the Government of Israel would do its utmost to return us home, and as Prime Minister, I have now carried this out.  As a leader who daily sends out soldiers to defend Israeli citizens, I believe that mutual responsibility is no mere slogan – it is a cornerstone of our existence here.

But I also see an additional need, that of minimizing the danger to the security of Israel’s citizens.  To this end, I enunciated two clear demands.  First, that senior Hamas leaders, including arch-murderers, remain in prison.  Second, that the overwhelming majority of those designated for release either be expelled or remain outside Judea and Samaria, in order to impede their ability to attack our citizens.

For years, Hamas strongly opposed these demands.  But several months ago, we received clear signs that it was prepared to back down from this opposition.  Tough negotiations were carried out, night and day, in Cairo, with the mediation of the Egyptian government.  We stood our ground, and when our main demands were met – I had to make a decision.

I know very well that the pain of the families of the victims of terrorism is too heavy to bear.  It is difficult to see the miscreants who murdered their loved ones being released before serving out their full sentences.  But I also knew that in the current diplomatic circumstances, this was the best agreement we could achieve, and there was no guarantee that the conditions which enabled it to be achieved would hold in the future.  It could be that Gilad would disappear; to my regret, such things have already happened.

I thought of Gilad and the five years that he spent rotting away in a Hamas cell.  I did not want his fate to be that of Ron Arad.  Ron fell captive exactly 25 years ago and has yet to return.  I remembered the noble Batya Arad.  I remembered her concern for her son Ron, right up until her passing.  At such moments, a leader finds himself alone and must make a decision.  I considered – and I decided.  Government ministers supported me by a large majority.

And today, now Gilad has returned home, to his family, his people and his country.  This is a very moving moment.  A short time ago, I embraced him as he came off the helicopter and escorted him to his parents, Aviva and Noam, and I said, ‘I have brought your son back home.’  But this is also a hard day; even if the price had been smaller, it would still have been heavy.

I would like to make it clear: We will continue to fight terrorism.  Any released terrorist who returns to terrorism – his blood is upon his head.  The State of Israel is different from its enemies: Here, we do not celebrate the release of murderers.  Here, we do not applaud those who took life.  On the contrary, we believe in the sanctity of life.  We sanctify life.  This is the ancient tradition of the Jewish People.

Citizens of Israel, in recent days, we have all seen national unity such as we have not seen in a long time.  Unity is the source of Israel’s strength, now and in the future.  Today, we all rejoice in Gilad Shalit’s return home to our free country, the State of Israel.  Tomorrow evening, we will celebrate Simchat Torah.  This coming Sabbath, we will read in synagogues, as the weekly portion from the prophets, the words of the prophet Isaiah (42:7): ‘To bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.’  Today, I can say, on behalf of all Israelis, in the spirit of the eternal values of the Jewish People: ‘Your children shall return to their own border [Jeremiah 31:17].’  Am Yisrael Chai! [The People of Israel live!].

 

דברי ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו לאחר שחרור גלעד שליט

18/10/2011 – יום שלישי כ’ תשרי תשע”ב

הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

אזרחי ישראל, ביום הזה כולנו מאוחדים בשמחה ובכאב.
לפני שנתיים וחצי חזרתי לתפקיד ראש הממשלה. אחת המשימות המרכזיות והמורכבות שמצאתי על שולחני, ואותה שמתי על לוח לבי, הייתה להחזיר את חיילנו החטוף גלעד שליט חי ובריא הביתה. היום המשימה הזאת הושלמה.

היא הייתה כרוכה בהחלטה קשה, קשה מאוד. אל מול עיניי עמד הצורך להחזיר הביתה את מי שנשלח על ידי מדינת ישראל לשדה הקרב. כחייל וכמפקד יצאתי פעמים רבות בשליחות צה”ל למשימות מסוכנות. אבל תמיד ידעתי שאם אני או חבריי ניפול בשבי, ממשלת ישראל תעשה כל שביכולתה כדי להחזירנו הביתה, וזה דבר שעכשיו ביצעתי כראש ממשלת ישראל. כמנהיג ששולח מדי יום חיילים להגן על אזרחי ישראל, אני מאמין שערבות הדדית אינה רק סיסמה – היא אחת מאבני היסוד של קיומנו כאן.

אבל לנגד עיניי עמד גם צורך נוסף, הצורך לצמצם ככל האפשר את הסכנה לביטחון אזרחי ישראל. ולשם כך הצבתי שתי דרישות ברורות. הראשונה: שצמרת החמאס, הכוללת רבי מרצחים, תישאר בכלא. והשנייה, שרובם המכריע של המשוחררים יגורשו או יישארו מחוץ לשטחי יהודה ושומרון, וזאת כדי להרחיק אותם מן היכולת לפגוע באזרחינו.

במשך שנים החמאס התנגד בתקיפות לדרישות אלה. אבל לפני מספר חודשים קיבלנו סימנים ברורים שהוא מוכן לסגת מהתנגדותו זו. במשך ימים ולילות התנהל בקהיר משא ומתן עיקש בתיווך ממשלת מצרים. עמדנו על שלנו, ומשנתקבלו עיקר דרישותינו – נדרשתי להכריע.
אני יודע היטב שכאבן של משפחות נפגעי הטרור הוא כבד מנשוא. קשה לראות את בני העוולה שרצחו את יקיריהן משתחררים בטרם מילאו את מלוא עונשם. אך ידעתי גם שבנסיבות המדיניות הנוכחיות זהו ההסכם הטוב ביותר שנוכל להשיגו, ולא היה שום ביטחון שהתנאים שאפשרו את השגתו, שהתנאים הללו יתקיימו בהמשך. ואז ייתכן שגלעד היה נעלם, לצערי דבר כזה כבר קרה בעבר.

חשבתי על גלעד ועל חמש השנים שהוא נָמָק בצינוק של החמאס. לא רציתי שגורלו יהיה כגורלו של רון ארד. רון נפל בשבי בדיוק לפני 25 שנים, ועד היום לא שב. זכרתי את בתיה ארד האצילה, זכרתי את כמיהתה לבנה רון  עד יום מותה. ידעתי שאני נושא באחריות כבדה. ידעתי את מלוא המשמעות של קבלת ההחלטה. ברגעים הללו מנהיג נמצא לבדו וצריך לקבל החלטה. שקלתי – והכרעתי. שרי הממשלה תמכו בהחלטה ברוב גדול.

והיום, עכשיו, גלעד שב הביתה, אל משפחתו ועמו ומדינתו. זהו רגע מרגש ביותר. לפני זמן קצר חיבקתי אותו ברדתו מהמטוס וליוויתי אותו להוריו אביבה ונועם, ואמרתי: החזרתי את בנכם הביתה. אבל זהו גם יום קשה. כי גם אם המחיר צומצם, הוא עדיין כבד.
אני מבקש להבהיר: נמשיך להילחם בטרור. וכל מחבל משוחרר שיחזור לטרור  – דמו בראשו.  מדינת ישראל נבדלת מאויביה. כאן לא חוגגים שחרור של רוצחים, כאן לא נושאים על כפיים את אלה שגדעו חיים. להיפך, אנחנו מאמינים בקדושת החיים, אנחנו מקדשים את החיים. זוהי מסורת עתיקה בעמנו, העם היהודי.

אזרחי ישראל, בימים האחרונים ראינו כולנו לכידות בעם שלא נראתה זמן רב. ואחדות זו היא מקור עוצמה לישראל בהווה ובעתיד. כולנו מִתְבָּרְכִים היום בהשבתו של גלעד הביתה אל מדינתנו החופשית, מדינת ישראל. מחר אנחנו נחגוג את ערב שמחת תורה. בשבת יקראו בבתי הכנסת בהפטרה של פרשת בראשית את דברי הנביא ישעיהו: ‘להוציא ממסגר אסיר, מבית כלא יושבי חושך’. וביום הזה אני יכול לומר בשם כולכם אזרחי ישראל, ברוח ערכי הנצח של עם ישראל: ושבו בנים לגבולם, עם ישראל חי!

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 18, 2011: Ambassador Michael Oren’s Remarks on the Release of Gilad Shalit – Transcript

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Welcome Home: Ambassador Michael Oren’s Remarks on the Release of Gilad Shalit

Today, the people of Israel and our supporters worldwide share in the joy of the Shalit family who were reunited with their beloved Gilad, held for five agonizing years by Hamas terrorists. As we witness this expression of happiness, we take pride in the strength and unity of the people of Israel and of their unwavering commitment to redeem prisoners who have fallen into enemy hands. We reaffirm the covenant between the State of Israel and its citizen army that exalts the principle that no soldier is ever left behind. Today, too, we are pained by the price we have paid in order to secure Gilad’s release, and we share the torment of those for whom this price is intensely personal.

We are hopeful that the Palestinian leadership will work to prevent any future terrorist attacks and renounce the violent acts perpetrated by many of those Palestinian prisoners who will be released.  Today is an opportunity for the Palestinian people to display the humanity and dignity that have given expression throughout the Arab world this year by turning their backs on the convicted murderers and those who laud them.

Israel will continue to defend itself in the face of multiple threats and withstand the attempts of those who seek to destroy us. We will be girded by our love of life, trusting in its supremacy — moral as well as military – over those who love death. We will make the hard choices, whether in war or in peace, to ensure the safety and integrity of Israel – the State, the Land, and its people.


Gilad, his father Noam, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Barak.

Israel Political Brief October 18, 2011: Finally free, Gilad Shalit returns to Israel

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Finally free, Gilad Shalit returns to Israel

Source: JTA, 10-18-11

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is embraced by his father, Noam, at Israel's Tel Nef Air Force base shortly after Shalit's release from more than five years of captivity, Oct. 18, 2011. (GPO)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit at the Tel Nof Air Force base in Israel shortly after his release from captivity, Oct. 18, 2011. (Avi Ohayon / GPO)
 

 

 

 

 

 

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit at the Tel Nof Air Force base in Israel shortly after his release from captivity, Oct. 18, 2011. (Avi Ohayon / GPO)

Gilad Shalit was reunited with his family shortly after crossing into Israel from Egypt after his release earlier in the day by his captors in Gaza, ending five years and four months in captivity.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman announced Shalit’s return at 11 a.m. Tuesday Israel time. Shalit arrived in Egypt approximately three hours earlier.

Images of Shalit walking were broadcast by Egyptian TV, and in an interview Shalit said he was treated well by his captors but that he missed family, friends and freedom. The IDF reported that Shalit is in good health.

After meeting with IDF officials and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Shalit was met by family members, and images of him embracing his father, Noam, were broadcast throughout Israel.

Shalit’s release came as Israel began transferring 477 Palestinian prisoners to the Red Cross as part of a swap deal between Israel and Hamas that will see the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. Eyewitnesses confirmed that some of the prisoners had begun entering Gaza.

Shalit’s family was waiting for him at the Tel Nof Air Force base, where he was to be taken after crossing into Israel.

Shalit had been held in Gaza since being captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid in June 2006.

Israel Political Brief October 18, 2011: Egyptian TV Interview Asks Gilad Shalit to Join Campaign to Free Palestinian Prisoners

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Egyptian TV Asks Shalit to Join Campaign to Free Palestinian Prisoners

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-18-11
In an interview Egypt conducted with with Gilad Shalit before releasing him to Israeli custody, an interviewer asked Shalit if he would join a campaign to help the more than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners still held “languishing” in Israeli prisons. The interview was aired on Egyptian and other Arab stations.

Israeli news carried the interview at the same time that it was first being aired on Arab television. The interview questions were asked in English, then translated. Gilad responded in Hebrew and English, which was promptly translated to Arabic.

After asking Shalit if Hamas treated him well, and “what he missed most,” the interviewer looked directly at Shalit, saying: “You’ve known what it’s like to be in captivity. There are more than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, will you now join the campaign for their release?”

“I’ll be very happy if they are released, but only if they don’t go back to fight Israel, to more wars.” Shalit responded. Shalit, who appears to be in good physical health, though very pale, and breathing heavily, waited a moment before adding that they should join the fight for peace.

This statement was apparently not translated into Arabic for their viewing public.

gilad shalit released

The general consensus in the Israeli media is that while this strange interview was disturbing and borderline abusive, Shalit responded beautifully, especially under the difficult and uncomfortable circumstances.

Gilad was still in Egyptian custody when he gave this interview. The interview began with the question: “Gilad Shalit, you look fine! How are you?”

It has been confirmed that Shalit has had a very emotional conversation with his family on the phone.

UPDATE: After undergoing a medical examination, Gilad Shalit was taken home to Mitzpeh Hila where he was greeted by thousands of supporters.

Israel Political Brief October 11, 2011: Israel and Hamas Agree to Gilad Shalit Deal

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Israel and Hamas Agree to Shalit Deal

Israel and Hamas reach a tentative agreement on a proposal to exchange Gilad Shalit for 1027 prisoners.

Source: Shalom Life, 10-11-11

According to reports, a deal has been reached to secure the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

The deal to return Shalit – held by Hamas since his capture in June, 2006 in a cross-border raid by Palestinian terrorists – will see Israel release 300 Hamas prisoners within a few days from today (October 11). Then, once Shalit has been transferred from Gaza to Egypt, Israel would release another 150 terrorists, culminating with his safe return to Israel, which would see Israel release another 550 prisoners. 27 Female prisoners will also be released.

The deal reportedly includes about 300 hard-core terrorists, including Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat. Hamas reportedly intends to release the full list of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners tonight.

“If all goes according to plan, Gilad will be returning to Israel in the coming days,” Mr. Netanyahu said on Israeli television earlier today, a sign that he’s confident the deal will go through.

Israel Political Brief Full Text October 11, 2011: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Opening of Special Cabinet Meeting on Deal Reached for Gilad Shalit’s Release — Transcript

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IN FOCUS: PM BENJAMIN NETANYAHU BROKERS GILAD SHALIT’S RELEASE

SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS TRANSCRIPTS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarks at the opening of a special cabinet meeting today

Source: PMO, 10-11-11

PM Netanyahu

Today, I bring a proposal to the Government for a deal that will bring Gilad Shalit home alive and well; bring him home to his parents Aviva and Noam, his brother Yoel, his sister Hadas, his grandfather Zvi, and the entire people of Israel. Two and a half years ago, when the government was formed, I took upon myself, as my first priority, to bring Gilad home to his people, to his family – to bring him home safe and sound.

At the time, Gilad was already held in captivity for two and a half years, with no visits from the Red Cross, with no visits at all, and we did not know what state he was in. The first step I took, and we approved it here in the Government, was to get a video recording of Gilad, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw it. We saw that he was functioning, physically, mentally and cognitively. We saw that he was functioning well. We knew that he was healthy and that he was alive.  I regarded that tape as an insurance policy, because it obliged the Hamas before the international community to safeguard him, to keep him alive and maintain his health. But that was obviously only the first step.

The most important mission that we had was more challenging – to actually bring Gilad home. To that end we held long and tough negotiations through the German mediator. These negotiations were based on a framework outlined by the previous government. They were long and exhausting and despite all our efforts, a deal was not reached.

I must point out that not a day went by without us trying various ways to bring Gilad home, any way possible, and that didn’t work either. In the last few weeks, the negotiations were renewed in Cairo, this time with the Egyptian government as mediator. My instructions to the team were to adhere to the principles and framework that are important for the security of the State of Israel, which I will detail in the meeting.

There is an inbuilt tension between the desire to bring back an abducted soldier, or citizen, and the need to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel.  This is my dual responsibility as Prime Minister.

The deal I am bringing to the Government expresses the right balance between all of these considerations. I do not wish to hide the truth from you – it is a very difficult decision. I feel for the families of victims of terror, I appreciate their suffering and distress, I am one of them. But leadership must be examined at moments such as this, being able to make difficult, but right, decisions.

I believe that we have reached the best deal we could have at this time, when storms are sweeping the Middle East.  I do not know if in the near future we would have been able to reach a better deal or any deal at all. It is very possible that this window of opportunity, that opened because of the circumstances, would close indefinitely and we would never have been able to bring Gilad home at all.

Therefore, for all of these reasons, I instructed the team to put their initials on the deal last Thursday, and today it was finalized and signed by both sides. I thank my Military Secretary Maj. Gen. Yohanan Locker, the Chief of the Shin Bet Yoram Cohen, my personal envoy to the negotiations, David Meidan and his predecessor Hagai Hadas. I thank the team that has accompanied them all these years.

I thank the IDF, the security forces for doing everything they could regarding Gilad Shalit. I also wish to thank the German mediator, and the Chancellor Angela Merkel who supported his mission all along. A send a special thanks to the Government of Egypt and the Egyptian Intelligence Services for providing much assistance in mediating and helping us reaching this agreement.

This morning I Invited Noam Shalit to my residence, and I spoke on the phone with the mother Aviva and the grandfather Zvi. I told them that I am keeping my promise and I’m bringing their son and grandson home. I told them, “I’m bringing your boy back.” I am happy that I succeeded in fulfilling the Jewish decree of redeeming captives, and if all goes as planned, Gilad will be back in Israel in the next few days with his family and his people.

The Nation of Israel is a unique people. We are all mutually responsible for each other, as our Sages said: “He who saves one soul, it is as though he saved an entire world.” Tonight, I bring the Government a proposal to save Gilad Shalit, to finally bring him home to Israel after five years.

Israel Political Brief October 11, 2011: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Brokers Deal for Gilad Shalit’s Release in Exchange for the Release of Over 1000 Palestinian Prisoners

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

IN FOCUS: PM BENJAMIN NETANYAHU BROKERS GILAD SHALIT’S RELEASE

Captured Israeli soldier Sgt. Gilad Shalit appears in this undated photo. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a prisoner swap deal that will release Shalit, who has been held for five years in the Gaza Strip, in return for some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. A deal to exchange Palestinian prisoners for Shalit will take place next month, Al Arabiya television channel reported on October 11, 2011. REUTERS/Handout/Files

Netanyahu: Israeli soldier held by Hamas returning home in ‘coming days’

Israel’s prime minister says prisoner exchange deal has been agreed upon. In turn, Israel will free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including many convicted in deadly attacks on Israelis. — WaPo, 10-11-11

Netanyahu Announces Deal to Free Shalit

Israel and Hamas have reached a tentative agreement on a proposal to exchange Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held captive for more than five years, both sides said Tuesday. The Israeli cabinet was meeting in emergency session to discuss it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who summoned all 29 Cabinet ministers to vote on the agreement concerning the fate of the captive soldier, Staff. Sgt. Gilad Shalit, went on Israeli television beforehand to announce it, a sign that he was confident of Cabinet approval.
“If all goes according to plan, Gilad will be returning to Israel in the coming days,” Mr. Netanyahu said…. READ MORE – NYT, 10-11-11

Reports: Deal reached for Shalit release

Source: JTA, 10-11-11

Israel and Hamas reportedly have arrived at a prisoner exchange agreement that would free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israeli media quoted officials in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office as confirming a report that appeared earlier Tuesday in the Arab media.

The reports said that the Israeli Cabinet was meeting late Tuesday to vote to approve the deal. Media reports did not provide specifics about the agreement.

A spokesman for the terrorist organization Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, where Shalit reportedly is being held, confirmed the deal to the Israeli daily Haaretz. He said the deal would include the release of Israeli-Arab prisoners serving life sentences. He also said the deal followed Hamas’ demands, which in the past have included the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including some with blood on their hands.

Previous efforts to free Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas-associated gunmen in a 2006 cross-border raid, have been frustrated by Hamas demands that Israel release terrorists responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on Israel.

Germany and Egypt have been attempting to broker a deal.

Netanyahu Confirms: Gilad Coming Home in a Few Days

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-11-11

Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed in a statement that a “difficult, but right” agreement has been signed with Hamas to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who is slated to arrive home in Israel in a few days.

Netanyahu stated that a video showing Gilad Shalit alive and “functional” was given as proof of life before negotiations ensued. He referred to the tape as a “insurance policy.”

Netanyahu said that upon receiving the video, a difficult and lengthy negotiation ensued with a German negotiator. He claimed that since his kidnapping, not one day has passed in which they did not attempt to bring Gilad home.

The negotiations were renewed this week, this time under Egyptian mediation. He stated, “The point this time was to hold to our principles and ensure the factors that would guarantee Israeli security.”

Netanyahu said he had a “huge responsibility” to bring Gilad home, but also a deep responsibility to protecting the people of Israel. He stated multiple times that it was a difficult decision, and that he understands the deep pain of the people affected by the terrorists that will now be released. He said, “I understand your distress, because I am one of you.”

Netanyahu also insinuated that had they not gone forth with the current deal, due to the “uncertain future” in the region, there may have never been another chance to return Gilad home.

Video still from Hamas video released in 09

The Prime Minister revealed that both sides they signed an initial agreement last Thursday, and today (Tuesday) it was finalized.

Netanyahu let the Shalit family know about Gilad’s release at a meeting at his own home. He said, “I’m keeping my promise, I am returning your son to you.”

He added that Gilad should be home in Israel in a number of days.

Mixed reactions are flooding in from Israelis, many of whom expect terror attacks to rise due to the release of 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Shalit, many of which are “heavy” prisoners, an Israeli term that refers to murderous terrorists, responsible for some of Israel’s worst terror attacks.

 

Israel And Hamas Near Deal To Exchange Prisoners For Gilad Shalit

Source: NY Jewish Week, 10-11-11

More than five ears after he was seized by Hamas militants, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit may be on the verge of going home, and 1,000 Palestinian militants may be the price.

Reports from Israel on Tuesday said the Israeli cabinet was finalizing a deal to exchange the prisoners for Shalit, 25, who was captured near the Keren Shalom Gaza crossing in June, 2006. Egypt reportedly was a broker in the deal. Shalit’s release could happen as soon as the next few days, though some reports said it would be in early November.

The reports originated with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya TV, and an Israeli government later confirmed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was discussing the matter with his cabinet.

The Israeli site YNet cited Jerusalem sources saying it was “very likely” the deal would be approved by the Knesset and said Shalit’s father, Noam, had confirmed that he was notified of the deal. Previous efforts to free Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas-associated gunmen in a 2006 cross-border raid, have been frustrated by Hamas demands that Israel release terrorists responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on Israel.

Germany and Egypt have been attempting to broker a deal.

 

Israel, Hamas reach Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, officials say

Announcement by Netanyahu’s office comes before planned emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the details of a deal geared at securing the release of the abducted IDF soldier

Source: Haaretz, 10-11-11

Israel and Hamas have reached a prisoner exchange deal that will secure the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, officials at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Tuesday.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said that “a brief window of opportunity has been opened that would possibly lead to Gilad Shalit’s homecoming,” adding: “The window appeared following fears that collapsing Mideast regimes and the rise of extremist forces would make Gilad Shalit’s return impossible.”

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006 IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006.
Photo by: Archive

The officials’ comment came following a report by Al-Arabiya, according to which a deal has indeed been reached between Israel and Hamas geared at the release of the IDF soldier, in Hamas captivity in Gaza since 2006.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are meeting several ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office in order to pressure them into voting for the deal, with Netanyahu aides estimating that the deal will be approved by the cabinet,

Special attention is reportedly being given to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman no to vote against the deal along with ministers from his Yisrael Beiteinu party. Several Likud ministers who have voiced opposition to freeing terrorists in exchange for Shalit are also being pushed to approve the deal.

Netanyahu called an emergency cabinet meeting scheduled for later Tuesday in which ministers are to discuss the status of talks geared at securing Shalit’s release.

Gilad Shalit's mother, Aviva, smiles as she sits in a protest tent erected in Jerusalem by the campaign for his release, following the news that a deal has been reached, October 11, 2011.

Gilad Shalit’s mother, Aviva, smiles as she sits in a protest tent erected in Jerusalem by the campaign for his release, following the news that a deal has been reached, October 11, 2011. Channel 10 television
1/11

Speaking with Haaertz, one Egyptian official said: “After 64 months of tough negotiations we were able to complete the deal. It was a very difficult task, which included thousands of hours of negotiations.”

Also on Tuesday, top Egyptian officials confimed to Haaretz that there had been significant progress in the attempts to strike a prisoner exchange deal that would lead to Shalit’s release.

The officials confirmed that an Israeli delegation, headed by the head of Shalit negotiations David Meidan, was in Cairo to indirectly discuss the details of a possible deal with the chief of Hamas’ military wing Ahmed Al-Jabari.

Similarly to previous rounds of Shalit talks, the indirect talks are overseen by Egyptian intelligence, headed by intelligence chief General Murad Muwafi and his aides.

Egyptian officials have also said that a the deal which has been reached in recent days also includes accused Israeli spy Ilan Garpal.

Activists linked to Palestinian prisoner rights in Israel have also indicated that a recent hunger strike amid those prisoners in Israeli jails was linked to the protest move, as well as the reason Hamas prisoners did not join the strike.

Gilad Shalit release: Why Israel and Hamas agreed to a prisoner swap

Gilad Shalit, a young Israeli soldier captured more than five years ago, is due to be released along with some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners under a deal announced today.

Source: CS Monitor, 10-11-11

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced tonight that Israel and Hamas have agreed to an historic prisoner swap deal that will release Sgt. Gilad Shalit, who has been held for five years in the Gaza Strip, in return for some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

After thanking the Egyptian government for mediating the deal, Mr. Netanyahu said that if everything goes according to plan, Mr. Shalit would return home in the coming days.

“Today I am bringing the cabinet a proposal that will bring Gilad home healthy and in one piece,” he said.

The diplomatic breakthrough gives a much needed boost to Hamas, Egypt, and Mr. Netanyahu, all of whom have been struggling of late amid the regional changes prompted by the so-called Arab Spring.

How the deal helps Israel, Hamas

The Israeli prime minister is likely to get a boost in popular support for releasing a soldier who has become a nationwide celebrity since being kidnapped from the Gaza border in June 2006. In addition, he was likely keen to boost ties with Cairo by collaborating on the prisoner deal, analysts say. Relations had grown chilly after a terrorist attack on the Israel-Egyptian border in August, and the storming of Israel’s embassy in Cairo by a mob of Egyptians.

Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar Ilan University, says Israel wanted to shore up Egypt’s interim military rulers as a counterweight to the growing efforts of Turkey to gain regional prominence.

“The goal is to help stabilize [Cairo], so they play a constructive role” in the region, Mr. Steinberg says. “It’s to show to other countries” that Egypt is still a regional power after this year’s revolution…. READ MORE

Related stories

 

Shalit’s father calls for his release

Source: CNN, 7-2-10

The father of Gilad Shalit on Friday resumed calls on Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to help get the soldier freed.

The soldier’s father, Noam Shalit, said: “I call on the prime minister, listen to the people. Get the strength from them to make this difficult decision before it is too late.”

Noam Shalit spoke to CNN by phone while participating in a march for his son’s release.

Gilad Shalit’s family is on a planned 12-day march from their home to Jerusalem. Thousands of people have joined the march. The family intends to camp outside Netanyahu’s official residence until Shalit is free….READ MORE

Israel won’t ‘pay any price’ for Shalit release, Bibi says

Source: JTA, 7-1-10

Israel will free 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the release of Gilad Shalit, but it will not “pay any price,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a live address to the nation.

The address Thursday comes on the fifth day of a cross-country march by the captured Israeli soldier’s family and supporters that has attracted thousands of people. The march will end next week in Jerusalem, where Shalit’s parents have vowed to camp out across from the prime minister’s official residence until their son is released.

“The German mediator’s offer which we agreed to accept called for the release of 1,000 terrorists. This is the price I am prepared to pay to bring Gilad home,” Netanyahu said. “I said yes to the deal and it is ready for immediate implementation. But there are prices that I am not prepared to pay and they are not included in this difficult deal.”

Netanyahu said he would not be willing to return dangerous terrorists to the West Bank, nor is he willing to release what he termed “top terrorists,” worried that they would commit more terror acts after their release.

Shalit’s father, Noam, said after the speech that Netanyahu was recycling the words of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Also, he said, “The prime minister drew horrifying scenarios from 25 years ago and from six years ago about terrorists who were released and then murdered Israelis, as if nothing had changed since then, as if Israel had no security services.”

Hamas gunmen abducted Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid in June 2006. The International Red Cross has not been allowed access to Shalit in his four years of captivity.

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