The author of this Jerusalem Post column is Gershon Baskin, Co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information. Excerpt:
Several weeks ago I wrote that the war in Gaza “may have really been a ‘war of no choice.'” Following the recent leaks from the talks about the “imminent” release of Gilad Schalit, I have decided to expose what I already knew before the war began.
Two weeks before Israel launched its attack on Gaza in response to a breakdown of the tahadiyeh (the cease-fire) with three weeks of barrages of Kassam rockets and mortar shells against its civilian population, I had met with a senior Hamas personality in a European capital. This person is connected and in contact with the Hamas leadership in Gaza and in Damascus. Over the past 950 days since the abduction of Schalit, he has transmitted messages for me back and forth to the Hamas leadership in Damascus, including a letter from Noam Schalit to Khaled Mashaal on September 8, 2006 that led to the release of the first sign of life from Gilad, which was received by the Egyptians on September 9, 2006.
We spent several hours talking about the conditions to renew the tahadiyeh. Since the abduction of Schalit on June 25, 2006, my involvement behind the scenes has been in holding unofficial talks with various Hamas leaders in Gaza, Damascus and elsewhere, all seeking to advance the negotiations to bring Gilad home. For two and half years I have been trying to bring about a direct secret back-channel bypassing third party mediators in order to speed up the process.
Read the rest of the article HERE.