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July 3, 2006
Israel: No Negotiations For Return Of Shalit

Israel has rejected a deadline from the Palestinian terrorists holding their abducted soldier, Gilad Shalit, and refused to release any prisoners from their jails in exchange for his return. The terrorists had demanded the release occur by 6 am Tuesday, which sets the stage for a further escalation:

"We will not conduct any negotiations on the release of prisoners," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday, officially rejecting an ultimatum released Monday morning by the kidnappers of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit that set a 6:00 a.m. Tuesday deadline for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

"Israel will not give in to extortion by the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government, which are led by murderous terrorist organizations ... The PA bears full responsibility for the welfare of Gilad Shalit and for returning him safe and sound to Israel," Olmert continued. ...

Meanwhile, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said during a visit to Shalit's family that he supported Israel's position not to give in to extortion.

A statement faxed to news agencies by the three terrorist organizations that coordinated the kidnapping said that if Israel did not meet the deadline, it would have to "pay the full future consequences," but did not specify the nature of the consequences.

The terrorists come from the ruling Hamas party. The Jerusalem Post notes that their faxed announcement appeared on the al-Qassam web site, and that the font and point size matched three earlier statements by the kidnappers. Israel underscored the responsibility of Hamas in both starting this crisis and to end it peacefully. They also made a pointedly explicit appeal to Bashar Assad, stating that Israel would hold Syria equally responsible based on their support and sheltering of Hamas and their international leader, Khaled Mashaal.

If Shalit does not appear soon, Gaza may get leveled in a search for him and his abductors. Israel has already started moving tanks and bulldozers into northern Gaza to go after the Kassam rocket sites and to destroy any more tunnels from the Palestinian side of the border. The operation got scaled down significantly from what Israel originally planned, but the IDF could quickly escalated the northern incursion in relatively short order.

By the time we get into the shank of the evening here in the US, we should know the result of this standoff.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 3, 2006 8:15 AM

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» Shalit's Captors Issue Deadline from
Gilad Shalit's captors delivered an ultimatum to Israel today to either submit to the their demands -- release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners and leave Gaza -- or face the consequences. A statement faxed to news agencies by the three terrorist organizations [Read More]

Tracked on July 3, 2006 5:05 PM

» Palestinians Are Brats from Strong As An Ox And Nearly As Smart
"What do you think," asked Alice, "about what Israel is doing in Gaza because Hamas kidnapped their 19-year old soldier?" I answered that Israel was doing the right thing, except they should be doing more, faster. Palestinians are like ch ... [Read More]

Tracked on July 3, 2006 11:04 PM


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