Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that Israel is willing to pay a high price to secure the release of prisoner-of-war, corporal Gilad Shalit, but will not pay any price that would “endanger Israel’s security”. Netanyahu added that Israel agreed to the proposal of the German mediator in which he suggested the release of 1,000 Hamas detainees, but also said that his government will not release detainees who carried out attacks that led to the death of Israeli civilians.
He also said that Israel insists on deporting detainees deemed to be “dangerous”; the detainees would be moved to Gaza or elsewhere but will not be allowed into the West Bank.
“They can go to Tunisia, or to Gaza”, Netanyahu said, “I don’t care where they go, but they won’t be allowed to go to the West Bank”.
The Israeli Prime Minister went on to say that swap-deals conducted in the 1980’s “eventually led to a large number of casualties.’
He added that he understands the crisis of the Shalit family, but as a Prime Minister he has to ensure the security of all Israelis, and added that he “feels the pain of bereaved families, but must act in a way that does not lead to having other families face the same fate.
Netanyahu said that Israel is willing to implement the proposed deal, exactly as reached with the German mediator, but accused Hamas of rejecting the deal and of increasing its demands.
“Germany suggested the release of 1000 detainees, I am willing to pay this price to bring Shalit home”, he stated, “I agreed to the deal and am ready to implement it immediately”.
The German offer came in December of last year, but Israel never confirmed that the offer suggested releasing 1,000 detainees.
Netanyahu demands released detainees who are considered dangerous should not be allowed in the West Bank, and detainees who are regarded as leaders of armed groups which carried out attacks against Israel and led to casualties will not be released under any deal.
This comes five days after the Shalit family started a protest march from their home in the Galilee to the residence of Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
The Hamas movement said that the statements by Netanyahu delude the public opinion and the people in Israel.
Ayman Taha, a senior political leader of Hamas, said that the issue here is not about number but about who will be released.
Hamas presented the names of 1,000 detainees, including 450 who are allegedly involved in deadly attacks against Israel, and senior political leaders such as Marwan Barghouthi of Fatah and Ahmad Saadat, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.