Olmert Hopes to Free Shalit in Cairo Deal With Hamas

Olmert travels to Cairo Tuesday to close a deal with Hamas to free Gilad Shalit. Olmert declared 2 years ago that he would free Shalit by force.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,

Shalit kidnapped by terrorists
Shalit kidnapped by terrorists
Israel News Photo: (file photo)

IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to visit Egypt on Tuesday to clinch a deal for the release of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Before the Prime Minister's visit, government negotiator Ofir Dekel is traveling to Cairo to further the deal that calls for the release of hundreds of Palestinian Authority terrorists in return for Shalit.

The parents of Gilad Shalit are petitioning the High Court of Appeals Sunday morning to force the government to postpone some concessions to Hamas until Shalit is actually released.
Olmert: 'I repeat: No negotiations will be conducted. We will continue to conduct military and anti-terrorism operations.'

Shalit was captured by Gaza-based Arab terrorists near the Kerem Shalom crossing on June 25, 2006 in a raid that claimed the lives of two other IDF soldiers. He has been held hostage by Hamas since then.

The day after Shalit was kidnapped Prime Minister Olmert said his government would not negotiate for his release. "We will respond, and the response will be forceful," he told the Cabinet at that time. "It won’t be an operation of one or two days. A line has been crossed," Olmert said. "The policy of Israel always has been not to abandon soldiers. I repeat: No negotiations will be conducted. We will continue to conduct military and anti-terrorism operations."
I repeat: No negotiations will be conducted.

Last year, the day after a protest was held supporting bringing Shalit back home, Prime Minister Olmert threatened to strike at senior Hamas leaders if the soldier was not freed. The government subsequently arrested several Hamas officials, but last week it freed a deputy minister belonging to the terrorist group.

Prime Minister Olmert also announced a year ago that Israel will prevent the entry of fuel and food to Gaza if Hamas did not free the soldier.

The parents of Shalit complained a year ago that the government was not doing enough to free their son. "If an entire country... with an advanced system at its head, satellites, and unmanned aircraft can’t bring a soldier back after an entire year, or even obtain information, then apparently we all really need to worry, "Noam Shalit, father of Gilad, said at a demonstration.

The High Court is meeting Sunday to hear the Shalit family's petition, requesting a ruling that would postpone the government's implementation of the recent Hamas-Israeli ceasefire understanding until their son is freed.
Lawyers for Shalit's parents argued in their petition that the government's agreement to open Gaza crossings without securing their son's safe return home is contrary to specific government policy that was stated at a Security Cabinet meeting last week.

The day after Olmert's trip to Cairo to try to close a deal with Hamas, the Knesset is to vote on a motion to dissolve the legislature. The bill, which so far has the backing of a majority of Knesset Members, would force either a new coalition or elections.