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Israel Accepts Mediator Deal on Shalit

Israel has accepted a proposal by the German mediator for the freedom of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 6/26/2011, 5:48 PM / Last Update: 6/26/2011, 5:36 PM

screenshot of Hamas video

Israel has accepted a proposal by the German mediator to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Saturday, June 25 was the fifth anniversary of Shalit's abduction during his army service near Gaza by terrorists belonging to Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Army of Islam.

Shalit's condition and whereabouts remain unknown. He has been denied contact with anyone, including representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a violation of international law. The ICRC has challenged Hamas to prove that Shalit is still alive.

Other supporters of the young soldier have appealed to the government not to transfer funds to Gaza deposited in the Bank of Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority government as long as Shalit continues to be held hostage.

In addition, Shalit's parents have said they plan to sue the terrorist entity in France, accusing Hamas of carrying out "acts of torture and of barbarism" against their son during his captivity.

The Hamas rulers of Gaza are believed to be holding him hostage “in harsh conditions,” pointed out Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Sunday's Cabinet meeting. “We know how is family is suffering. I think that the entire nation and all fair and just people in the world are incensed at what Hamas is doing.”

Netanyahu noted that Israel has applied “heavy international pressure” and said the government has also decided to change the conditions under which Hamas prisoners are held in the Jewish State, given that Hamas has still not freed the young soldier. “That party is over,” he announced.

In addition, Israel decided to accept the latest proposal from the German mediator trying to broker a deal with the terrorist group for Shalit's release.

“This proposal was harsh; it was not simple for the State of Israel,” commented Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“However, we agreed to accept it in the belief that it was balanced between our desire to secure Gilad's release and to prevent possible harm to the lives and security of the Israeli people.”

Now, Netanyahu said, the next move is up to Hamas. Israel has to wait.

“We have yet to receive Hamas's official answer to the German mediator's proposal,” Netanyahu told the ministers.