From the AP via MSNBC, an update on the Gilad Shalit saga.
Israel said Sunday it has resumed indirect talks with the Hamas rulers of Gaza on swapping hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for a captive soldier held for more than four years.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the German mediator who has been working to broker a deal to bring home the soldier for about a year has returned to the region.
“We are operating at all times, in different and various ways to bring him back. One of these ways, even the main way, is this negotiation, which indeed resumed a few weeks ago,” Netanyahu told Israel Army Radio Sunday.
The announcement was the latest twist in a saga that has gripped the country’s attention since Hamas-linked militants captured Sgt. Gilad Schalit in a June 2006 raid across the Gaza-Israeli border.
Secret negotiations over a swap, mediated by Egypt and more recently by Germany, have repeatedly broken down, and talks have been stalled for months.
Hamas, which seeks Israel’s destruction, has no official relations with Israel.
Great news, but remember, this is Hamas, for whom even a 1000:1 prisoner swap is not enough.
Deals proposed in the past would have entailed Israel swapping about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Schalit. The most recent talks broke down over Israel’s refusal to release a number of prisoners who carried out deadly attacks on civilians because of fears they would return to violence. Hamas insists these prisoners be part of any deal.
The Gilad Shalit story is an example of selective outrage by pressure groups and the media. Had it been Israel refusing such lopsided prisoner exchange offers the same media which reports these facts without comment would be unanimous in their condemnation. Consider the following excerpt which is presented without mention of human rights violations.
Since his capture over four years ago, Schalit has received no outside visitors, and little is known about his whereabouts or condition.
Last October, Hamas released a short video of him that appeared to show him in good health. Before that, the only signs he was still alive were three letters and an audiotape. Hamas has not allowed the Red Cross to see him.
Hopefully this latest resurrection of talks between Hamas and Israel will finally result in Shalit’s release, but if not perhaps it can serve to educate the human rights community about the treatment of Shalit and even moreso about the outrageous demands issued by Hamas, who seem to have no real interest in ever releasing him.