Egyptian Al Ahram Newspaper reported that a new European mediator has started mediation talks for the release of prisoner-of-war, corporal Gilad Shailt, captured by the resistance in Gaza since mid-June 2006.The paper quoted an anonymous Hamas source who refused to declare the nationality of the new mediator, but said that the mediator has, so far, shown fairness, honesty and creativity. Gerhard Konrad, was the former mediator in Shalit talks.
In its report, the paper claimed that Konrad was backing the stances of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who retracted understandings reached with his predecessor, Ehud Olmert.
Israeli Ynet News reported that Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, that Israel is conducting relentless efforts to ensure the safe release of Shalit.
His statements came as he addressed Golani soldiers during a Passover Seder near the borders with Gaza.
Gantz said that the issue at hand is not an easy one, and added that he hopes all intense work will lead to a positive outcome.
The Ynet reported that dozens of supporters of Shalit, members of a campaign for the release Shalit, visited his family’s protest tent installed just across the home of Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
The Shalit Campaign stated in a press release that they are protesting in front of Netanyahu’s home to remind him that nothing “nothing has changed for Shalit since he was abducted 1758 nights ago”, the Ynet reported, and added that the parents of Shalit, Noam and Aviva, were among the protesters and sat across the gate the leads to the residence of Netanyahu.
Netanyahu announced this past Sunday that he appointed David Median, a senior Mossad chief, to replace Hagai Hadas, who served as the special government representative in Shalit’s case.
Corporal Gilad Shalit is the only Israeli held by the Palestinians. There more currently more than 8000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, including dozens of children and women.
Hundreds of detainees have been imprisoned by Israel since more than 20 years, 23 of them have been in prison since more than 25 years.
More than 7000 Palestinian children, aged 10-18, were detained by the Israeli army since the outbreak of the second Intifada in late September 2000. Several children reached adulthood while behind bars.