Shalit's animation: swap prisoners before it is too late

08:10, April 26, 2010      

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Islamic Hamas movement on Sunday addressed the Israeli public that Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit, who has been held by the Islamic movement since 2006, may not return if Israel did not accept the prisoner exchange soon.

Hamas' message to the Israelis came in a 3D animation its military wing, Ezz El-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades, released on Sunday.

The three-minute cartoon film, showed Shalit's father, Noam, walking aimlessly in a gloomy weather before picking up a newspaper that shocked him by its front-page announcement for a prize to anybody giving information about his son's whereabouts.

The advertisement allocated 50 million U.S. dollars for Shalit' s information and a lesser amount, 10 millions, to information about Ron Arad, the Israeli Air Force staff who went missing since his aircraft crashed over Southern Lebanon in 1986.

Mr. Noam grew older and continued walking on a stick with a white beard after he had read the newspaper. He passed by the headquarter of a new Israeli ministry for missing and prisoners' affairs, an indication that Hamas was going to kidnap more Israelis. Hamas wanted Israel to free up to 1,000 Arab and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit. Egypt had mediated between Israel and Hamas since the time Shalit was captured in a cross- border raid near Gaza but failed to bridge the gap between the concerned parties. Last year, Germany led an extensive round of mediation efforts to broker the swap, but there were still no signs of progress.

The video showed quotations from Israeli leaders, including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and current Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, all promising to work on freeing Shalit. The movie played bits of a previous video message from the captive soldier saying that his government frustrated him.

Hamas seemed to try urging the Israelis to press their government accept the Palestinian demands and achieve the swap. "There is still hope," the animation said at the end. Otherwise, the swap would be done but Shalit might not be alive then, as the video showed Noam receiving his son in a coffin and freed Palestinian prisoners were taken home by a bus of the International Committee of Red Cross.



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