UPDATE - Tuesday, 0700: (Half an hour after the expiration of Hamas' ultimatum, the "Army of Islam," one of the three Palestinian groups holding Shalit released a statement saying "The discussion is closed; we will not release any information of the fate of the soldier, whether he is dead or alive."
Meanwhile, Knesset security cabinet member Haim Ramon told Army Radio at 07:20 that Israel operated properly in not negotiating with Hamas, and dismissed reports of a possible deal where Shalit would be transferred to Egyptian or French custody, until Israel released Palestinian security prisoners. Ramon said the only place Shalit would be transferred to would be back to his family and home.)
I had the honor of interviewing Esther Wachsman soon after IDF troops killed Hamas mastermind Salah Darwazi, who was behind the abduction and murder of her son, Nachson in 1994. It was a deeply moving, and thoughtful discussion.
It is my fervent hope, with just six hours left as this is posted before the Hamas ultimatum runs out on the threat against the life of Gilad Shalit, that her words are heeded.
May Shalit return safely to his family and home in Mitzpe Hila.
From The Jerusalem Post:
"Esther Wachsman, mother of Nachshon who was kidnapped and killed by Hamas terrorists in October 1994, has told The Jerusalem Post that the army and the establishment have learned nothing from her son's ordeal.
"No one is so blind as those who will not see," said Wachsman poetically, during an interview late Wednesday night."
Read it all.
"I don't know if we're living in George Orwell's "1984" - where good was bad, bad was good, peace was war and war was peace - in Chelm, the city fabled for its stupidity, or in evil Sodom. In any event, this is not the country I moved to 36 years ago out of Zionist enthusiasm, as the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
"At that time I felt that I had the privilege of being part of the history of this new/old country, to get married here, to give birth to my seven sons in the Jerusalem to which we had prayed to return for 2,000 years. There was no mother prouder than me when my oldest son joined the Israel Defense Forces, wearing the uniform of the Golani Brigade, and his two younger brothers did the same. Nachshon was our third son to join the elite Orev Golani unit, and we were very proud that he had fulfilled all the expectations on which he was raised: love for the people, the land and the heritage.
"And then, in October 1994, our Nachshon was kidnapped by Hamas. In a tape that was transferred from Gaza and played on television, he was seen appealing to then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, with a rifle aimed at his temple, with his hands and feet bound and with a terrorist pushing him to speak. And he spoke: "The group from Hamas kidnapped me. They are demanding the release of Sheikh Yassin and another 200 murderous terrorists from Israeli prison. If their demands are not met, they will execute me on Friday at 8 P.M."
Read it all.
"A senior Hamas government official said Monday that 'the crisis with Israel over the kidnapping of a soldier (Gilad Shalit) should be resolved through diplomacy,' signaling the group may be softening its line after issuing a harsh ultimatum to Israel that expires in less than 10 hours."