During the meeting, Peres told the team, “I want to thank you on behalf of the entire nation for bringing an end to such a serious and sensitive time period for the State of Israel. You did this professionally and with the required confidentiality, with proper understanding of who was standing in front of you.”
The President thanked Egypt, Germany and Turkey for their mediation in the negotiations to release Shalit.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the Egyptian government who made a serious effort in order to bring this issue to an end,” Peres said. “I want to thank the German government who were involved in the beginning. I must also say that I was pleasantly surprised by the Turkish government’s position. Despite our differences, they put everything aside and decided to favor the humanitarian side over the political side. I was told it was done under the order of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. He told his intelligence services to work together with us.”
Peres also personally thanked the negotiating team, saying, “I want to thank you and the institutions on whose behalf you fought. The security forces so vital and so important, and we are simply proud of you.”
Meidan responded to Peres and thanked him for his kind remarks, but noted that “for us the task is not yet complete."
“We’ll complete it when Gilad comes home, hopefully within a few days,” Meidan told the President. “We intend to continue now and plan his return to Israel. I intend to travel to Egypt with the team to plan Gilad’s return and then the joy will be real.”
He added, “Thank you, Mr. President, for accompanying this process the whole time. We saw how important this issue was to you and how important your support is to the families. The deal is very complicated but we can say that the hardest part of it is behind us.”
One of the roles of Israel’s President is to pardon prisoners, and as such Peres will sign the pardons of the terrorists that will be released in exchange for Shalit.
It is expected that all the legal materials involved in the terrorists’ release will arrive in the President’s home on Saturday night.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)