Former American President, Jimmy Carter, stated during an interview with al-Jazeera on Friday, that the Hamas movement agreed to allow the captured prisoner of war, Gilad Shalit, held by three resistance factions in Gaza since mid 2006, to send a message to his family.The agreement came during a recent meeting between Carter and the head of Hamas’ political bureau in Syria, Khalid Mashal.
Following the meeting with Mashal, Carter went to Israel and met with Noam, the father of Shalit, and informed him that he is willing to conduct all needed efforts to help in advancing the release of Shalit.
During his visit to Israel, Carter told Israel’s TV, Channel 10, that although doubts were cast over the fate of a letter that he took a year ago from the parents of Shalit to their son, the letter did in fact reach Shalit and that the family will receive a response.
A prisoner-swap deal that would see the release of Shalit, the only Israeli prisoner-of-war in Palestinian hands, remains at a standstill as Israel rejected a list presented by Hamas for the release of hundreds of detainees, including senior Hamas members and fighters, and prominent political leaders such as Marwan Barghouti, of Fatah, and Ahmad Saadat, secretary-general of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP.
Israel’s stance is that it is not willing to release what it calls “prisoners with blood on their hands” referring to detainees believed to be behind the death of Israelis, including soldiers.
There are more than 8,000 detainees, including hundreds of women and children, currently imprisoned by Israel. Hundreds of detainees spent 20 or more years behind bars including dozens who were kidnapped by the army 30 or more years ago.