Hamas is continuing to use psychological tactics to apply pressure on Israel to strike a deal to release Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier who was kidnapped by terrorists in 2006.
On Wednesday, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency quoted a Hamas-affiliated website which said Shalit has decided to fast during Ramadan.
“A popular proverb goes that if one lives in a community for more 40 days, he becomes one of them,” the Ar-Risala website said. “This seems to have come true in the Gaza Strip.”
The report went on to claim that after years in Gaza, Shalit has become “embarrassed to ask for food during Ramadan despite the fact that his captors do not deny him that right.”
Hamas also claims Shalit thinks the Israeli government has “lost interest,” in him. The terror group also presented itself as being humanitarian towards Shalit, saying he “abandoned Jewish traditions to mimic Muslims after the good treatment he received from his captors, even while they are fasting.”
Another claim is that Shalit is being allowed to watch Israel’s Channel 1 television but that he could not see any news about him since the Israeli government is too busy with the demonstrations and protests in Tel Aviv.
The report says Shalit noticed that the protests against housing problems became too big, and it caused him “depression and disappointment. He lost hope of any prisoner swap deal that can secure his freedom.”
According to Ma’an, the report seemed to be intended to increase pressure on the Israeli government. In June it was reported that Israel had accepted a proposal by the German mediator to free Shalit.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel accepted the proposal despite it being “harsh” and “not simple for the State of Israel,” because “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.”
In response, Hamas accused Israel of “lying” and said there is “nothing new” in a deal to free Shalit. It also said Netanyahu is “fully responsible” for the stalemate in negotiations for Shalit’s freedom.
The Hamas report from Wednesday might also be an attempt by the organization to respond to recent demands by the International Red Cross to prove Shalit is still alive, by presenting it as though Shalit is receiving food and being allowed to watch television.
It is also not the first time Hamas has used psychological warfare to pressure Israel.