Cabinet to Meet Tomorrow to Continue Shalit Debate, Gilad’s Parents Meet PM

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shalitThe inner cabinet decided tonight to reconvene tomorrow at 10:30 am to continue the debate over whether or not to proceed with a prisoner swap deal with Hamas. Also tonight, government ministers urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to include the entire cabinet, not just the inner cabinet, in the vote over a deal for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit deal, Channel 1 reported

The inner cabinet meeting ended tonight with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Minister without Portfolio Bennie Begin, two of the three ministers who had initially opposed a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas, having shifted to the ‘undecided’ camp, Channel 1 reported.

Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly made clear at the meeting his opposition to having any prisoners ‘with blood on their hands’ released to the West Bank.

According to the report, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon was the only member of the inner cabinet to remain opposed to a prisoner swap deal to secure the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Intelligence Affairs Minister Dan Meridor and Interior Minister Eli Yishai reportedly continued to be in favor of such a deal.

The inner cabinet convened in Yerushalayim for the third time in one day immediately after Netanyahu’s meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman tonight.

The forum was summoned on short notice for an early morning meeting today, and then met again immediately after the weekly cabinet meeting in the afternoon.

Tonight, the government confirmed widespread speculation that the forum was conducting critical discussions regarding a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas to secure the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Earlier in the evening, Aviva and Noam Shalit, parents of the captive soldier, arrived at the Prime Minister’s Office in Yerushalayim to deliver a letter urging Netanyahu to step up efforts to secure their son’s release.

“We are turning to you in a last minute cry for help – please save our son, please save Gilad,” the Shalits wrote in the letter.

“Our hearts tell us that the negotiations have reached a point of no return … We are at a crossroads that has only two possible outcomes – the rescue of Gilad Shalit and his safe return home, or the leaving of his fate to the hands of Hamas,” the letter read.

Another portion of the letter pleaded with the prime minister to not “drop all of the problems of the Middle East onto our son’s narrow shoulders.”

In Lebanon, meanwhile, a senior Hamas official stated today that the group was “awaiting Israel’s response on the prisoner exchange deal, which will be relayed in the coming days by the German mediator.”

“We look forward to finalizing a respectable deal,” Hamas official Izzat al-Rashek said in a rally in Beirut.

Over the weekend, foreign news outlets reported that the seven-member inner cabinet was divided over the deal, and that Netanyahu has been reluctant to sign it now for some three weeks.

The Egyptian paper Al-Ahram quoted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as saying over the weekend that the German mediator overseeing talks between Israel and Hamas had threatened to resign if a deal was not concluded in two-to-three weeks time.

Barak, meanwhile, did not mention Shalit in remarks he made before meeting Suleiman for some 90 minutes in Yerushalayim, 30 minutes of which were in a one-on-one meeting.

{JPost/Yair Israel}


  1. Whatever your feelings about the swap, please continue to daven for Gilad ben Aviva, b’soch sh’ar the MIA (and others needing release from various forms of bondage)and have them in mind during critical parts of davening (matir asurim, etc.)


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