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      Livni: Not All Soldiers Come Home

      On day 900 since Gilad Shalit was kidnapped, Livni says, “It's not always possible to bring all soldiers home.” Shalit supporters slam statement.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 12/11/2008, 6:13 PM

      Kadima head Tzipi Livni aroused anger on Thursday when she told high school students in Tel Aviv, “It's not always possible to bring all soldiers home.” The announcement came exactly 900 days after IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped near Gaza.

      "When a soldier goes to the army, there's a risk involved and we all want him to come home safely, but it's part of the willingness to fight. We have no other option,” Livni told the crowd.

      Students might feel that the government does not care about Shalit, but that is untrue, Livni said. “We want Gilad to come home just like all of you do... The thought that I have the power to free Gilad Shalit and yet do nothing is a terrible thought.”

      Before ending her speech, Livni told students she had an edge over other candidates for Prime Minister because, “We're used to prime ministers who are prisoners to the military. I'm not like that; that is my advantage. I can ask questions.” Livni also praised her own ability to plan military operations, saying, “When the army goes in, I am already thinking ahead to the withdrawal.”

      Shalit Supporters Angered
      Officials in the Headquarters for the Release of Gilad Shalit reacted with anger to Livni's statement. “We teach our children to go to the army and to volunteer to serve as officers, and we always tell them that we will do everything in order to bring them home,” said Chairman Yoel Marshak. “It's unacceptable that we don't even know what's happening to Gilad Shalit.”

      As a leader, Livni must do everything in her power to figure out what is happening, he said. “We're not even talking about the price of bringing him home, just about figuring out if he's alive or dead.”

      Shalit supporters were also angered by the transfer of 100 million shekels in cash to Gaza on Thursday afternoon. The money was transferred with Israel's approval in an attempt to save Gaza banks from collapse.

      Protesters attempted to stop the money transfer by physically blocking the truck's path into Gaza, but the truck driver managed to avoid the obstacles and continue on his way. Protesters had called on the government to halt the transfer until Hamas agreed to release Shalit. The money will only go to Gaza terrorists, they said.

      The transfer proceeded as planned despite an urgent appeal filed by the Land of Israel Legal Forum. Transferring cash to Gaza violates laws against financing terrorism, the Forum said. Legal Forum heads reacted with fury to the government's decision to continue the transfer without waiting for the court's decision. “The trucks that carried the money drove over the rule of law,” one said.