German Negotiator Back for Gilad

German negotiator Gerhard Konrad has reportedly renewed talks in Gaza with Hamas terrorists for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Chana Ya'ar , | updated: 11:48 PM

Gilad Shalit, Ron Arad in background
Gilad Shalit, Ron Arad in background
Israel news photo: Flash 90

German negotiator Gerhard Konrad has renewed talks in Gaza with Hamas terrorists for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, held hostage since he was abducted in a cross-border raid near the Kerem Shalom Crossing in June 2006.

Konrad allegedly traveled to Gaza three weeks ago to negotiate with Hamas over a new deal for Shalit's release, according to a Channel 2 television report quoted by the Gaza-based Quds News Agency. Egypt allegedly remains involved as the second partner in mediation efforts to broker a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and the terrorist group for Shalit's freedom.

In an interview with the London-based Arabic-language daily newspaper Al-Hayat, Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk confirmed that talks had resumed two weeks ago with the German negotiator.

A similar report was denied earlier in the week in an interview with Voice of Israel government radio by senior Hamas official Mahmoud a-Zahar.

Shalit campaign activist Shimshon Liebman told reporters, however, that the soldier's family had not been informed of any prisoner swap deals between Israel and Hamas. “If there was such a visit... it shows a real effort by the mediator... but the days are passing and Gilad is still in captivity.”

Shalit's father Noam said he had no idea whether the German negotiator had been to Gaza or not: “The Prime Minister's Office knows everything. I cannot confirm or deny anything.”

Numerous deals have been reported to having come close to an agreement in the past several years, only to fall through at the last minute, with Hamas backing out when Israel refused to hand over a list of top-ten terrorists. Israel has, in the past, agreed to free up to 1,000 terrorist prisoners, including many with blood on their hands.

Those which the Jewish State has refused to free are serving multiple life sentences for murderous attacks on numerous citizens.