CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - At Sunday's Cabinet meeting, ministers responded to threats by Hamas to kill captured Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Corporal Gilad Shalit.
"Any harm at all to Gilad Shalit would result in Hamas being hit hard," one Kadima minister said. "Hamas will bear full responsibility for his fate," he said.
The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas quoted Hamas political deputy Moussa Abu Marzouk saying that if Israel failed to release Palestinian prisoners, they would be negotiating for the release of the 21-year-old soldier's "bones."
Marzouk's threats were echoed by Hamas parliamentarian Mushir al-Masri, who warned Shalit's parents that Israel's refusal to meet their demands for prisoner release was jeopardizing their son's survival.
"We emphasize to the Shalit family that Olmert and the people around him are gambling with their son's case," Masri stated on a Hamas Web site. "Shalit will not see the light of freedom and will not see his mother and father as long as our prisoners remain in jail," Masri's statement read.
Noam Shalit, father of the captured soldier, said his son is paying the price for Olmert's indecisiveness, adding that his family and the public at large believe the government has forsaken the kidnapped soldiers.
"This prime minister…keeps putting off making a decision," Noam Shalit said. "Olmert claims efforts are being made and that not a day goes by without them trying to find a solution, but I only have the results to judge him by and the result is zero success," he said.
Meanwhile on Monday, Lebanon's a-Safir daily reported that negotiations between Israel and the Hezbollah terror group over captured IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Edad Regev have stepped up in recent weeks.
The daily tied breakthroughs in negotiations for the release of Goldwasser and Regev -- captured in a cross-border attack in July 2006 that sparked the Second Lebanon War -- with negotiations with Hamas for the release of Shalit.
But Goldwasser's father, Shlomo, told YNet news that the paper's remarks were nothing more than media spin.
"If there was any progress in the negotiations and certainly if there was any 'acceleration,' those responsible for it in Israel would have given us an update by now," he said.
Last week, Micki Goldwasser, the captured reservist's mother, spoke at Hebrew University.
"Deserting the boys is much easier than paying the price for their release," she said. "Olmert wants to be known as the one who refused to pay a hefty price for the soldiers' return, but he will always be remembered as the one who created three more 'Ron Arads,'" she said.
Israeli navigator Ron Arad was shot down in Lebanon in 1986 and has never been heard from. At one point, it was rumored that he'd been taken to Iran.
Source: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news