Peres says talks on Shalit resumed but no progress was achieved
|Sunday, October 19,2008 14:41|
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, Israeli president Shimon Peres said on Friday that talks with the Egyptian officials on releasing captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was resumed but without achieving any tangible progress.
The Egyptian government was mediating between the Israeli occupation government and the Palestinian resistance factions holding the IOF corporal since June, 2007 with the aim to reach prisoner swap deal.
The Hebrew radio quoted Peres as saying that communications with the Egyptians on Shalit"s freedom have resumed but he opined that talks would take "long time". Peres uttered his remarks as he visited Shlomo Ammar, the Sephardi Chief rabbi of Israel.
However, the veteran Israeli leader alleged that reaching a deal in this regard depends on the Palestinian party that "suffers of an internal rift".
Captors of Shalit tabled a number of conditions for his freedom, including releasing Palestinian female and children captives in Israeli jails in addition to 1,000 prisoners who have been in jail for a long time including chronically sick detainees.
Human rights organisations described the Palestinian demands as humanitarian, but the Israeli occupation government still rejects those humanitarian conditions.
Meanwhile, a high-ranking Israeli officer acknowledged that fortifying the costal city of Ashkilon in the 1948-occupied Palestinian lands from the locally made Palestinian Qassam rockets was an impossible task.
The Hebrew Ha"aretz news paper quoted the officer, without naming him, as saying, "We could fortify Nahul Oz and Sderut settlements but what about Ashkilon, Shdud, and Kiryat Hatt?".
The IOF officer was also quoted as saying that if Hamas had indeed, as we think, obtained rockets of 30 km range, then those cities would fall in the range of those rockets, and it would be difficult for us to fortify the multi-storey buildings in Ashkilon because "the Israeli economy couldn’t withstand the cost of the fortification process".
The Hebrew paper also confirmed that the Israeli occupation government busied itself in fortifying the Israeli settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip exploiting the ongoing truce with Hamas in Gaza Strip.