Shalit's Parents Receive Son's Letter

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The parents of kidnapped Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Corporal Gilad Shalit received a handwritten letter from their son Monday.

The letter was dispatched by the Carter Center in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority- (PA) controlled city that houses the Fatah government's headquarters.

According to Hamas, the letter was part of an agreement between Damascus-based Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal and former US President Jimmy Carter, who met with the exiled leader twice during his visit to the region in April.

"The family received a letter today via the secretary general of the Carter Center," Shalit's father, Noam, said.

"There are many signs indicating that the letter is authentic. It conveys a message from Gilad -- that he is pleading, begging us to do everything we can to see that he is released from captivity," he said.

Gilad's father, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the beginning of last week, said he left the prime minister's office with a "bad feeling."

"My impression from this meeting is very difficult," he said. "We didn't hear anything new from the prime minister, and he couldn't tell us about any progress being made," Shalit's father said.

Meanwhile, the letter's release arrived as the Israeli government steps up its debate about a large-scale incursion into the Gaza Strip.

"The letter has surfaced just before the security cabinet's discussion on any future Gaza operation," one Israeli government official said.

"The letter surfaced just as Olmert, [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak and [Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni reiterated Israel's demand that Gilad be released."

According to Hamas, delivering the letter was simply a humanitarian gesture, not an indication of anything else.

Israel insists that Shalit's release be part and parcel of any tahadiya, the Egyptian-brokered temporary cease-fire with Hamas.

Source: YNet news

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