Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hostage alive-Egyptian official says

Snowflakes were drifting down all over Jerusalem, while the Egyptian foreign minister asserted at his joint press conference this afternoon with Israel's Tzipi Livni that this was no snow job. Aboul Gheit announced to gathered reporters that the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilat Shalit, is alive after six months in captivity. What's more, Egypt is actively working for his release.

Aboul Gheit admits that he could not guarantee the release of the unlucky young corporal who was abducted by Palestinian militants in June. "This is a very sensitive issue and we have to treat it with very serious sensitivity," he said, according to Ynet.

"I hope and believe that he will be released ... But I emphasize that we are working hard for his release and we are sure that he is still alive." Press reports said that months earlier, Hamas had turned down Israeli offers to liberate up to 1000 jailed Palestinians in exchange for the bespectacled soldier they are holding as a bargaining chip.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with the Egyptian official, who --according to the Israeli government press office-- had expressed appreciation for Olmert's current policy of restraint and efforts to empower moderates in the Palestinian Authority.

Olmert advised his cabinet that "it's time to show flexibility and generosity" on the issue of prisoners, ahead of the Muslim Eid el-Adha holiday this weekend. Well, perhaps we'd better check to see if today's snow sticks on the Hinnom valley (the alleged entrance to the Biblical Gehenna). That would be a sign, too: that Hell is freezing over. And that Peace in the Muddle East is nigh.

Here at Israelity Bites, we would welcome any possible breakthrough; if some positive proof of Shalit's life were shown, such a gesture could jumpstart the peace process. It's time the stalemate is broken.

Snowy Jeusalem cityscape on Wed, as Shalit remains out in the cold.

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