Jerusalem - Netanyahu: There Is a Limit for Schalit
Jerusalem - Israel won‚Äôt pay an unlimited price to free Gilad Schalit, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday evening, as thousands of Israelis demanding that the kidnapped soldier be released from four years‚Äô captivity by Hamas in Gaza marched with the Schalit family toward Jerusalem.
‚ÄúIsrael is prepared to pay a heavy price for Gilad Schalit‚Äôs freedom, but it can‚Äôt say, ‚ÄėAt any price.‚Äô This is the truth and I‚Äôm saying it here,‚ÄĚ the prime minister said.
He explained that Israel placed a proposal on the table at the end of last year to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, but that for security reasons he had not agreed to all the names on Hamas‚Äôs list. Israel also insisted that the most dangerous terrorists be banned from entering the West Bank.
Schalit‚Äôs father, Noam, said in response, ‚ÄúThe question is not whether to release [Hamas] prisoners, the question is whether Gilad should be killed.‚ÄĚ
Noam Schalit spoke in the midst of an 11-day trek he and his family began on Sunday from their Mitzpe Hila home in the Upper Galilee. They plan to reach the capital next Thursday, and to sit in a tent opposite Netanyahu‚Äôs official residence until their son comes home. Each day they have been joined by thousands of supporters who have marched with them.
Schalit said that these people had joined them, ‚Äúeven though they know the price demanded for his release. They also know the price of abandoning a captured soldier.
‚ÄúI ask you, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to listen to the sounds of the crowd walking with us. Be empowered by them to make this difficult decision, before it‚Äôs too late,‚ÄĚ Noam pleaded.
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