From Jerusalem Post:
At the urging of Channel 10 news, deposed PA prime minister Ismail Haniyeh’s deputy, Ahmed Youssef, called Noam Schalit, father of kidnapped soldier Gilad, on Tuesday.
“I hope you are at least satisfied now that you have heard your son’s voice,” Youssef told Schalit.
Schalit appeared overcome, and said he preferred to speak with Youssef off-camera. Youssef offered him his phone number, and told Schalit he could call him “any time.”
Youssef told Channel 10 that he had been the one to decide to release the tape of Gilad speaking.
“We [in Hamas] received many requestsâ€¦ many people said how important it was to show [Gilad’s] family some proof he was living,” he said.
“I personally got phone calls from Jewish representatives from the US and Israel. They asked Hamas to provide some sign of life – a letter or a video. They said Israel would be willing to give [us] something in return.”
Abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit is still suffering from wounds sustained when he was kidnapped, and is being held in conditions that are not suitable for proper treatment, a senior Hamas official said Tuesday.
Osama al-Mezeini, who represented Hamas in the Egyptian-mediated talks on Shalit’s release, said the soldier suffered several wounds during the abduction that have yet to heal.
In an interview with Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Radio, al-Mezeini added that the sanitary conditions at the isolated location in which Shalit is being held.
In an audio tape released by Hamas on Monday, the abducted soldier said his health was deteriorating, and that he would need to be hospitalized for a long period of time.
The manner in which Shalit has been held as a hostage is cruel beyond measure, to him and to his family. The psychological games Hamas is playing are also manipulative and disgusting but at least we now have assurances that Shalit is alive.
Shalit’s being held hostage holds all of Israel hostage because he is the son of every Israeli who has served in the IDF or whose children serve. There is also no doubt that it is incompetence on the part of the IDF (they had specific intelligence about the attack beforehand) that led to his kidnapping, which makes the state’s obligation to have him released even greater than it would be otherwise. It is partially for this reason that Hamas cynically brings up the exchange Israel made a number of years ago with Hizbullah for an Israeli captive, Elhanan Tannenbaum, who was subsequently proven to have been involved with an intended drug deal. Surely, if a drug dealer deserved an exchange, so does Shalit. The problem is that the exchange cannot be at any price and having such an exchange take place now would bolster Hamas at a time when it has over-reached severely and is seeking to repair the damage. I hate to say it but this may not be most prudent time to exchange prisoners for Shalit. On the other hand, Israel should prepare for an exchange in the near future.