October 19, 2011
Implementation of the Agreement for the Liberation of Abducted Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit – Update No. 3 1
1. In the late afternoon of October 18 Gilad Shalit arrived at his home in the Western Galilee village of Mitzpeh Hila, where he was received by hundreds of well-wishers. His father reported that Gilad felt well but was suffering from minor injuries originating from untreated shrapnel wounds incurred during his abduction and lack of exposure to sunlight.
2. In the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, Cairo, Amman and Damascus receptions were held for the Palestinian terrorists who had been released. The recurring theme of all the speeches given, especially by representatives of the terrorist organizations, was that every effort had to be made, including the abduction of more Israelis, to empty the Israeli jails of Palestinian prisoners.
Gilad Shalit Arrives in Mitzpeh Hila
3. At 1711 hours on October 18 Gilad Shalit arrived home to Mitzpeh Hila, where he was received by hundreds of well-wishers, local residents and Israelis who had driven to the village.
The convoy carrying Gilad Shalit on its way to Mitzpeh Hila
(Photo: Max Levinson, courtesy of NRG, October 18, 2011).
4. An hour after the family arrived home, Noam Shalit, Gilad’s father, spoke to the assembled residents and media representatives. He said that Gilad felt well but was suffering from a number of minor untreated shrapnel wounds and lack of Vitamin D due to his having been held in captivity indoors without access to sunlight for five years and four months. He said that at first he had not been treated well but that his situation improved with time. He was allowed to listen to the radio and watch some TV, mainly Arabic channels.
5. Noam Shalit added that it was still difficult for Gilad to be with people because he had been kept in isolation for many years, noting that “he was kept in a dark hole, some kind of dark basement, and from there he came out to all this noise.” Noam Shalit thanked the prime minister, defense minister, supporters and activists, and asked that the public and the media allow Gilad to recuperate and return to a normal life (Haaretz, October 19, 2011).
Noam Shalit speaks at Mitzpeh Hila about Gilad’s condition
(Photo: Arik Sultan, courtesy of NRG, October 18, 2011).
Initial Israeli Media Reports about Gilad Shalit’s Health
6. The first photos of Gilad Shalit showed him as very thin, pale and exhausted. On arrival at the IDF base near Kerem Shalom he was examined by military physicians. The IDF Spokesman reported that he was in fairly good health but had not been properly fed and was suffering from a lack of Vitamin D resulting from sunshine deprivation (Haaretz, October 19, 2011). According to another report of the same examination, his physical condition was good and his mental state was acceptable (Israeli Reshet B Radio, October 19, 2011). In any event, it was decided that he did not need to be hospitalized immediately and could return home, with a more complete examination to be performed at a later date.
The Gaza Strip
7. The main rally for the released terrorists was held in Al-Katiba Square in Gaza City, attended by tens of thousands of Palestinians.
The rally in Gaza City (Hamas’ Palestine-info website, October 18, 2011).
The green flags made the rally a Hamas affair rather than a national Palestinian event.
8. The keynote speech was given by Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip. A speech was also given by released terrorist Yehya Sanwar (one of the founders of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, and a participant in the abduction and murder of Israeli soldier Nachshon Waxman in 1994). Haniya stressed the fact that the deal included operatives from all the organizations and all of “greater Palestine,” to which Hamas adhered [according to Haniya, “greater Palestine” includes Israel, “the 1948 territories”]. He praised the use of terrorism (“the resistance”), which he referred to as Hamas’ “strategic choice” and through which the prisoners were released, including those sentenced to life imprisonment. Yehya Sunwar called on the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades to continue their efforts for the release of all the Palestinian prisoners held by Israel [i.e., continue abducting Israelis to be used as bargaining chips] (Al-Aqsa TV, October 18, 2011).
Yehya Sunwar speaks at the rally in Gaza City
(Hamas’ Palestine-info website, October 18, 2011).
9. Other Palestinian terrorist statements were the following:
1) Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said that Hamas would not rest until all the Israeli jails had been emptied of Palestinian prisoners (Al-Aqsa TV, October 18, 2011).
2) The Palestinian Islamic Jihad issued a statement calling on the so-called “resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations] to increase their efforts to abduct IDF soldiers “until all the Zionist jails were empty of prisoners” (The PIJ’s Paltoday website, October 18, 2011).
3) Abu Mujahed, spokesman for the military-terrorist wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, said that “we will continue until the jails have been emptied of prisoners” (Ma’an News Agency, October 18, 2011).
Judea and Samaria
10. The main reception for the terrorists was held at the Muqataa in Ramallah and attended by several thousand Palestinians. Speeches were made by Mahmoud Abbas and Hassan Yussuf, a high-ranking Hamas figure in Judea and Samaria. Small receptions for local returning terrorists were held in Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm, Bethlehem, Qalqilya and Salfit. More will be held in the upcoming days.
11. In his speech Mahmoud Abbas said that the sacrifices made by the former prisoners were not in vain and that the result would be an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders whose capital was Jerusalem. He promised that the issue of the prisoners would be the top priority of the Palestinian Authority and said he hoped he would soon see Marwan Barghouti (Fatah), Ahmed Saadat (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) Ibrahim Hamad (Hamas) and Abbas al-Sayyid (Hamas) [released] [four influential terrorists who were not included in the list]. Mahmoud Abbas also made the claim (which we cannot verify) that “there is an agreement between us and the [previous] Israeli government about another group after this [deal] has been completed. We therefore demand [Israel] keep its promise…” (Palestinian TV, October 18, 2011).2
12. Ahlam al-Tamimi, a female terrorist who lives in Jordan, participated in the suicide bomber at the Sbarro Restaurant in Jerusalem (15 killed); she flew from Cairo to Amman.
Ahlam al-Tamimi at her reception in Jordan
(Ma’an News Agency, October 18, 2011)
13. Al-Tamimi was greeted in Jordan by about 200 Jordanians, including political party activists, trade unions representatives and relatives. They shouted slogans of support for Hamas and denounced the Israel-Jordan peace agreement. A high-ranking Islamic activist at the reception said that the Islamic Movement in Jordan was planning to organize a large reception for her (Al-Busla Al-Sabeel, October 18, 2011).
14. Forty former terrorist prisoners arrived at the Cairo airport and from there were flown to various Arab-Muslimcountries. They were received by Khaled Mashaal, head of the de-facto Hamas administration and his deputy, Musa Abu Marzouk. Apparently most of the terrorists were flown to Turkey, Qatar and Syria, while a small number went to other Arab countries (for example, Jordan, the destination of Ahlam al-Tamimi).
15. At the reception, Khaled Mashaal boasted of Hamas’ ability to hide Gilad Shalit from Israeli intelligence for five years. He criticized the deportation of the terrorists beyond the borders of “Palestine” (which he referred to as “the Israeli policy of prisoner deportation”) and thanked Egypt for mediating the deal. He called on Mahmoud Abbas to meet with him in Cairo to discuss reconciliation. He ended by saying, “to our prisoners in jail…the liberty of all of you, all our prisoners from Gaza and the West Bank and the lands of 1948, compels us [i.e., “rests on our shoulders”]. The prisoners leaving for abroad will not remain outside the land of Palestine for long.” He then shook hands with Ahlam al-Tamimi and congratulated her (Al-Jazeera TV and Hamas’ Palestine-info website, October 18, 2011).
16. Syrian TV broadcast the reception for the 16 forme prisoners who arrived at the airport in Damascus. People waved flags of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (Ahmed Jibril’s organization).
17. Syrian propaganda described the release of the prisoners as “a historic deal” which was a “glorious achievement” for the “resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations]. For example, according to an article in the October 18 edition of Al-Thawra, the deal proved that “the armed struggle and the resistance are an excellent way of achieving Palestinian national rights.” The article called on the Palestinians to abandon negotiations and adhere to the so-called “resistance” [i.e., terrorism] and to carry out more “actions” [i.e., abductions] for the release of all the prisoners.
18. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati congratulated the Palestinian leadership on the release of the prisoners. Mikati also telephoned Mahmoud Abbas to congratulate him personally.
19. On October 18 Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV broadcast the release of the Palestinian prisoners in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria in real time in a program called “Resistance [i.e., terrorism] creates freedom.” Samir Kuntar, the Lebanese terrorist released in 2008 in return for the bodies of murdered IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, called on the so-called Palestinian “resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations] to abduct more “Zionist soldiers” for the sake of releasing the rest of the prisoners.
1 Supplement to “Implementation of the Agreement for the Liberation of Abducted Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit – Update No. 2.” An update on the liberation of Gilad Shalit appeared instead of the weekly News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
2 Hassan al-Sheikh, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said that Mahmoud Abbas was referring to an arrangement which he claimed had been signed by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, according to which if Gilad Shalit were liberated, Israel would give the same number of prisoners to the Palestinian Authority, specifically those serving terms to which they were sentenced before the Oslo Accords and those sentenced to additional terms (Voice of Palestine Radio, October 18, 2011). A Voice of Palestine correspondent in Ramallah also reported that Israel had promised the Palestinian Authority that an additional 1000 prisoners would be released (Voice of Palestine Radio, October 18, 2011).