debkafile Exclusive: Palestinian leaders use Gilead Shalit for a face-saving disinformation media campaign

Hamas has handed Egyptian mediators a list of Palestinian prisoners demanded in exchange for Gilead Shalit, who was seized on the Israeli side of the Gaza border by Palestinian gunmen ten months ago.
The list has 1,000 names – double the number Palestinian sources claim. Most are either heads of various groups committed to terrorizing Israel, or their members who were convicted of murder, complicity in the murder of, or conspiring to murder Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks.
Israel has rejected similar rosters in the past. But now, one of those lists has been recycled as fodder for a face-saving campaign of distortion launched by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh.
debkafile‘s Middle East sources report that the two partners in the fledgling Palestinian unity government need to save face after repeatedly falling down on public promises to secure the Israeli soldier’s release and open the door to talks with Israel. They were caught by the world’s TV cameras in these failures.
Furthermore, the case of the British captives highlighted the inhuman conditions in which the Israeli hostage is held – no outside contact, no Red Cross visits, no proof he is even alive.
So Abbas and Haniyeh used the media to turn their loss of face against Israel.
“The ball is in Israel’s court”, said Palestinian information minister Ahmed Barghouti Sunday. “Israel must respond immediately to the demand to release 1,000 in order to free Gilead Shalit.”
Here is where the distortion comes in. debkafile repeats that there is no way either Abbas or Haniyeh can produce the Israeli soldier – even if Israel accepts the entire list. Not only does the Hamas prime minister have no influence with the kidnappers holding Shalit, but the rift between his faction and the Islamist group’s military wing, to which some of the abductors belong, is widening. This wing is in opposition to the Haniyeh government and hardly inclined to do him the favor of letting the Israeli soldier go, whatever Israel’s response may be.
Furthermore, Hamas’s co-abductors, the Population Resistance Front and Al Qaeda-Falastin, who are jointly guarding Shalit, have not signed off onto the list handed to Egypt.
There is a further complication: Al Qaeda-Falastin links Shalit with the BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, whom they kidnapped almost four weeks ago in Gaza, and for whom they are demanding a ransom of several million dollars.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email