Amnon Meranda
August 20, 2008 - 8:00pm,7340,L-3586085,00.html

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz slammed on Thursday the cabinet's recent decision to release 199 Palestinian prisoners as a gesture to President Mahmoud Abbas while IDF soldier Gilad Shalit remains in captivity.
"Noam and Aviva Shalit (Gilad's parents) are still awaiting their son's release," said Mofaz, a leading candidate for the Kadima party chairmanship along with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. "As prime minister I'll work tirelessly to bring him back to his family."

Shalit was captured by Palestinian terrorists during a cross-border raid on an IDF base near Gaza on June 25, 2006.

Speaking to some 300 supporters at his campaign headquarters in Givatayim, Mofaz vowed to put an end to what he referred to as Israel's policy of concessions.

"We will direct Israel toward a new leadership," he said, "the country's existence is being put to the test each and every day; the threats against us are increasing, and we must make certain that Israel is strong enough to face these threats while at the same time guide the country to a reality of peace and achievements, which we lacked over the past two years."

Mofaz warned that the country "must not follow a path of concessions without getting something in return. This path is a dangerous one, as it weakens us and bolsters our enemies.

"We must make certain that Israel and its capital Jerusalem are protected in the face of the threats against us."

The Kadima member continued to say that "as a cabinet member and former chief of staff and defense minister it pains me to see how a policy of baffling concessions and indecision, coupled with the unilateral release of (Palestinian) prisoners while Gilad is being held by terror groups, weakens Israel and breaking down its deterrence.

"On September 17 (date of Kadima primaries) a new Israeli prime minister will be elected who will lead a strong and uncompromising government. Members of Kadima, just as the rest of the country's citizens, know that we can't afford to elect people who lack the experience, wisdom and decision-making capabilities that are necessary in dealing with the existential threats Israel is facing while simultaneously providing a solution to the country's social and economic problems."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017