Gazan Hamas spokesman Dr. Fouzi Barhum released a statement that there will be no compromise regarding Hamas’ list of terrorists to be released by Israel in exchange for Gilad Shalit.
The Hamas official released his latest statement ahead of meetings in Cairo with Egyptian intelligence officials. The talks will surround a deal to release Shalit as well as the ongoing efforts towards locking in a ceasefire with Israel.
Dozens of Shalit supporters protested outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem on Friday, calling on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to bring the captive soldier home before stepping down from office.
Critics of the government decision to halt Operation Cast Lead state Israel never should have stopped the counter-terrorism offensive without Shalit’s release, adding a deal may only be reached with Hamas when the terrorist leaders are brought to their knees. Now, they remain bold enough to make demands, signaling the military operation was called off prematurely.
Family members of the soldier are maintaining a lower profile, refraining from releasing statements to the media, apparently following a consult with a government representative who briefed Noam and Aviv Shalit regarding ongoing talks in Cairo.
Egyptian officials last week stated that Jerusalem is aware that Shalit is alive and well, but Israel does not know his whereabouts.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)