Friday, July 10, 2009


A question that has been bothering me for weeks is this: what's up with all of the misleading reports out of the Arab press about Gilad Schalit? It seems that every day there's another false rumor planted and duly published by the Western (including the Israeli) media, usually with a caveat attached but WTF?

Today's item:

'Israel, Hamas agree to discuss Schalit'

Israel and Hamas have agreed to renew negotiations for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, London-based Arab newspaper Al Hayat reported Friday morning.

G-8 leaders urge Hamas to release Schalit, give Iran till September on nukes

An unnamed Egyptian official told the paper that Cairo wants to understand the new Israeli government's position on a prisoner swap.

"So far, the Israeli government has not given any offer that we can work with," the source said. He said that much progress had been made with the previous government and that it would be a shame to start again from scratch.

"The agreement to renew talks is a positive step, but we are waiting to hear the Israeli position," he said.

The Jerusalem Post could not independently verify the Al Hayat report.

Of course they couldn't. Two weeks ago, it was this:

Report: Schalit release imminent

The London-based Asharq Alawsat reported Saturday significant progress in negotiations to release captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip for over three years.

According to the report, Israel and Hamas reached a compromise according to which Israel would eventually release 1,100 Palestinian prisoners, of which 400 would be picked by Hamas.

Hamas ministers and parliamentarians would also be released, according to the reported agreement.

Israel would also remove the siege of the Gaza Strip, open the southern Rafah Crossing and return it to the level of operation that existed before the Hamas coup two years ago.

The paper reported that the plan received the blessing of the United States.

Israeli and Palestinian sources both doubted the veracity of Asharq Alawsat's report, and The Jerusalem Post could not verify its reliability.

Moshe Feiglin asks why Schalit isn't home yet. There's an unpleasant answer lurking between the lines in another recent report:

Hamas says has no knowledge of Shalit's life

GAZA, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Hamas movement on Thursday said it cannot confirm or deny if the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is still alive.

"The crazy war on the Gaza Strip wiped out everything so we don't know if Shalit is still alive or if he has died," Osama al-Muzini, a Hamas official authorized to speak on this issue, told Xinhua, referring to a 22-day Israeli offensive against the Hamas-controlled territory in January.

Al-Muzini, however, said Israel has to go ahead with talks to exchange Shalit for a number of Arab prisoners "whether the soldier was dead or alive."

"The Zionist enemy has to pursue negotiations without any signal confirming or denying this argument," al-Muzini added.

Hamas has gotten a heck of a lot of mileage out of hiding the ball when it comes to Schalit. They would lose all that if they either released him or acknowledged that he's no longer alive and I doubt there's any price high enough to make up for that. It's extremely unlikely, sad to say, that there will be any reliable information on the true fate of this brave soldier any time soon.

Shabbat Shalom.