Shalit: I hope this leads to peace

2011-10-18 12:42

Cairo - Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, looking weak and pale but insisting he was in good health, said he hoped his release on Tuesday in exchange for a thousand Palestinians held in Israeli prisons could help bring peace between the two peoples.

In an interview conducted by Egyptian television shortly after he was handed over by Hamas in the Gaza Strip to Egyptian intelligence officers, Shalit looked tired and somewhat dazed, hesitating and sometimes appearing out of breath.

Thanking the many people who had worked for his release, he said he had been told of his impending freedom after five years incommunicado at about the same time as news of the deal was publicised: "I received this news a week ago and I felt then that this would be my last chance to be free."

"They were long years," Shalit said. "But I always thought the day would come when I finally get out of captivity."

Captured in June 2006 by Palestinian militants who tunnelled out of the Gaza Strip to attack Shalit's tank crew on the border, the Israeli conscript was last seen in a 2009 video shot by his captors.

‘I hope this leads to peace’

Wearing a checked blue shirt, the 25-year-old looked gaunt and pale as he fielded questions and said he was looking forward to "meeting ordinary people" again.

Speaking in Hebrew through a translator, he was asked what he thought of the 5 000 or so Palestinians still in jail in Israel and said he would be happy if those prisoners were freed to return home to their families.

"Of course I miss my family very much. I also miss my friends," he said.

"I hope this deal will lead to peace between Palestinians and Israelis and that it will support co-operation between both sides."

When an interpreter asked the Egyptian reporter to wrap up her questions, Shalit stood up and the interview ended.

Hundreds of Palestinians are being freed in exchange for Shalit under the deal between Gaza's Hamas Islamist rulers and the Israeli government that was brokered by Egypt.

  • Jaba - 2011-10-18 13:03

    We all hope this will lead to peace! Either way - welcome back to your family & nation. They have not stopped screaming for you in 5 years. The difference between east and west: True value for life; as one Israeli hostage is exchanged for over 1000 inmates.

      Ax - 2011-10-18 13:35

      dude, check an atlas sometimes, they are all in the east retard

      Leon - 2011-10-18 14:05


      Herman - 2011-10-18 14:06

      @Ax. Geographically you are correct, but Israel politically represents the west and the Arab states the east. Calling someone a retard for referring to Israel as being west makes you the retard. I however do not agree with Jaba's comment either.

      BA - 2011-10-18 14:13

      Ax Jaba was talking about Western values and ethics. And it is the Middle East - RETARD!!!!!!!!!!

      Mthuthuzeli - 2011-10-18 17:59

      @Ax Talking to Zionists is like talking to an apartheid wall.

  • Willie - 2011-10-18 13:05

    It is high time Israel should start to push for peace in that region 'cause USA is gradually loosing grip of political influence around the world,the only solution is greater co-operation with it's neighbours and THIS APPLIES to the ARABS AS WELL

      Ax - 2011-10-18 13:42

      SHOUT LOUDER THEY CANT HEAR YOU!!! do you think the arabs are deaf or something? or they have a thick skull and need to be shouted on and the isrealis are nice little angel who should be spoken softly to? I wonder how this translate in your behavior with the different races in South Africa.... second you shouldnt speak when you dont know jack about a thing, the issue is between isreal and palestine, not isreal and the arabs, who are the people who speak arabic and represent several hundred million people scattered around the world. So either say the jews need to push for peace and the arabs too, or the isreali and the palestinian, unless your head is full of stereotypes and prejudice. But let's stop this angelic euphoria and be real for a sec, isreal doesnt want peace, not for now at least, they want to keep annexing new territories and squeezing the palestinians, they just pretend they do

      Ax - 2011-10-18 14:19

      wow, such emotions, such passion, no wonder you cant think rationally GA. Trying to instill reason to people like you is like teaching philosophy to a stone, but let's try anyway. Most of the freed palestinians here are political prisoners, not convicted murdering terrorists as you imagine in your little head. all the countries you refer to as "anal blips" shows you irrational built in hatred and racism of countries you have never been to and yet label with amazing ease. Yes, it will come as a shock, but most of them are inhabited with peace loving people whose daily concerns are not far from yours or mine, like paying their mortgage, trying to send their kids to school, booking dentist appointment and other mundane things like that. In your head you probably imagine them as countries where people sit all day long trying to attack others and that's just sad. as for the donkey, very elegant i say, but i'd rather perform that with your poor wife, who i pity for living with an intolerant person like you.

      Willie - 2011-10-18 14:27

      @ Ax - I was just making a point that this a two way street twee,i do not know where you get an impression that i said people of the Arab descent are deaf.

      Benmica - 2011-10-18 14:28

      Israel has been talking peace since 1948. They offered land for peace. At Camp David they offered Yassar Arafat peace and a homeland (97% of the West Bank and Gaza). Israel has been standing with the dove in the hand and every time the Palestinians rejects any talks with Israel. They have the following: 1. No recognition of the State of Israel. 2. No Jew in Palestine. 3. No negotiation with the Jews.. Further they have said that Christians will only be 2nd rated citizens in any part of Palestine. That is why there is no peace....

  • Leon - 2011-10-18 13:10

    Must I be happy for him or is it a sad day for letting those arabs out of prison Just can't make up my mind

      Ax - 2011-10-18 13:45

      aren't we a prejudiced racist person. another wasp who think anybody not white should be in prison it seems. Did you weep when Mr Mandela was freed as well?

  • Anthony - 2011-10-18 13:32

    does anyone know when all this started between jews and arabs?

      Dirk - 2011-10-18 13:41

      When Abraham thought it a good idea from his wife to have a child with the servant, Hagar and Ishmael was born

      wesleywt - 2011-10-18 13:51

      It started when the Muslims defeated the Persians and occupied Judea (the Romans renamed it Palenstine, after exiling the Jews after an uprising against their occupation).

      Ax - 2011-10-18 13:53

      first, it's between the isrealis and the palestinians, there are jews and arabs living in other countries and they get along fine. and it started when the UN made their first resolution about this situation at the United Nations General Assembly, Resolution 181 in 1947, stating clearly that there should be the creation of 2 states. Since the US and some others ensured that the isreali state was created quickly, but ensured also that there was no palestinian state created in the last 60 years, they hindered any effort in this direction. so it is not all that surprising that there are friction. But at least, you confess your ignorance and dont judge, as opposed to the many here who dont know jack and take sides just based on prejudice and skin color.

      BA - 2011-10-18 14:23

      AX you are either ignorant or a deliberate liar. There were 2 states created by the UN. Instead of the arab states accepting this, they attacked Israel and were defeated. At that time hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled from arab states, and hundreds of thousands of arabs fled the state of Israel during that first war. At that stage there was no palestine. Gaza was held by Egypt and the West Bank was held by Jordan. Interestingly, the PLO, the for-runner of hamas, was founded in 1964, 3 years before the 1967 war in which Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt, after they were again attacked by all the surrounding arab states. The significance of this date is that, altough idiots like Ax try to pretend otherwise, it is hamas which does not want peace or two states, but rather wants the destruction of Israel. The hamas charter states "The charter states that "our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious" and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories,and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel. Article 13 "There is no negotiated settlement possible. Jihad is the only answer." So how can you negotiate any settlement with an organization that officially and formally declares its hatred of your whole religion and its intent to destroy your state entirely????

      Ax - 2011-10-18 14:43

      we are calling each other names now, ok, so you are a moron, a prejudiced zealot, a retard and a deliberate manipulator and liar. The conflict history is so complex that it allows both sides to present it favorably as it suits them. Anthony asked when this all started, and i answered that, 1947. But although some of your response is factual, you omit a few things, like the fact that the resolution coupled with the balfour declaration was a way to basically say to the palestinians, and the egypt and jordan as you righly mention it, we are going to take some of you land and do what we want with it. same as if the UN comes today and say to South AFrica, ok we decided to take the eastern cape area and create a country there... Again, no suprise that the jews jumped on the occasion and agreed, the world is giving them what they asked for. and no surprise that the palestinians, egypt jordan and allies were quite miffed and pissed off and refused. But again that's half a century ago, the fact remain that the zionist congress openly admitted that they want ALL the land there for them, and the successive isreali goverment simply ensure that this initial ideology remained by annexxing more land through the 60 years and build more and more illegal settlement in disputed areas and cried fould when they received rockets that came in retaliation for their balatant disregard for the agreements in place twist it as you want, but if you cant see both side's point, you're too biased to talk to

      Benmica - 2011-10-18 14:46

      It started when Abraham had Ismael. In 1929 the Palestinians killed all the Jews in Hebron. In 1947 the UN said there must be 2 states. Jordan was created with the King of Jordan ruling them. Then the other 29 % was left for the Jews where the Palestinians and Jews lived. When Israel was created all the Arab states rejected it and 7 attacked Israel. During that time all the Jews (hundreds of thousands of them) had to flee the Arab states and lost all their property. They had to flee for their lives. They returned to Israel. The Arab leaders told the Palestinians to get and and when they have chased the Jews out of Israel they can return and take all the properties that the Jews bought from them the last 100 years. The Arabs was not successful and they Palestinians have been trapped in all the Arab countries and in Gaza and the West Bank since then.

      Mthuthuzeli - 2011-10-18 18:24

      It started when Germany and the victorious allies after the war decided to rid Europe of Eastern European Juden (Ashkenanzi/Khazars) and decamp them first in Uganda, later Mauritius and finally settling on Palestine. The ethnic cleansing of Europe took place after the war.

      Adam - 2011-10-18 18:42

      @Mthuthuzeli do u think there were no jews in the land before world war 2? where do u think the the hebrew language comes from. guess bantu education does that to some one. pity your opinion counts.

      Mthuthuzeli - 2011-10-18 19:53

      If you want to debate me, have the courtesy to debate what I actually say, not what you want to refute. There were Sherphadic Jews indeed in Palestine which are different to the Ashkenazi. The latter are terrorists, the former lived at peace with their neighbours.

  • Benmica - 2011-10-18 14:21

    Baruch Hashem.... at last....... May you have a long, successful and happy life...

  • solstank - 2011-10-18 16:02

    Why does news24 decide to misquote him, and make it seem as if his time in captivity was spent in vain. Despite suffering for 5 years and 4 months, Gilad's resolve and need for security for Israel is still clear. He stated explicitly that he would be happy to see the 5000 odd palestinian prisoners returned to their families but only if they would never return and fight against Israel. This has been the problem since day one. The palistinians think that their right to something that is not theirs overrides the value of human life. Until they begin to value their own children's life over their desire for death, (much like the Israeli's desire to save lives, even one life was more important than 1027 terrorists who will probably continue to pursue death) this issue will never be resolved.

  • Nxumalo - 2011-10-18 18:10

    I do not know what to do about this world. I feel for Israel because am Christian. I do not know why the Filistines have to vow that they will not rest until they have Jerusalem-the Holy City when they have so many holy shrines and Jews and Christians have only Jerusalem. For Gods sake can the world find an alternative solution for this Filistine capital thing? But I know my bible says God sees out tears and in time he will settle this. But for the moment delusional people and suicide bombers should know that Millions of people around the world love Israel and for that some of us will fight to the last drop of our blood should people decide that they want to do another 'final solution' and no side will terminate the other. It will be a bitter stalemate. Everybody is crying for peace and let the world find a reasonable solution to this problem.

  • Warwick - 2011-10-19 08:54

    Dream on buddy.

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