Noam Shalit: I Know Nothing of Reported Clinton, Carter Mediation Initiative

Egyptian newspaper reports the U.S., Egypt and Hamas have held talks to arrange a visit to Gaza by former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Noam Shalit told Channel 10 News on Saturday that he knew nothing about an initiative to allow former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter to visit the Gaza Strip to help in efforts to release his son, abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

"I don’t know anything about such an initiative, and I have not been updated on the matter," Noam Shalit said.

"I am not placing my hopes in the hands of the former U.S. presidents," Shalit added. "We have a prime minister who is responsible and I am not hanging my hope in the hands of foreign delegates overseas."

The United States, Egypt and Hamas have held advanced talks to allow the former U.S. presidents to visit the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Mesryoon reported earlier on Saturday.

According to the unconfirmed report, the two former presidents will discuss a number of issues with Hamas leaders, including a prisoner swap deal to free captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid by Gaza militants in 2006 and has been held by Hamas for over four years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Clinton during a recent trip to Washington, D.C. During that meeting, Netanyahu asked Clinton to help in efforts to free Shalit.

Last August, Clinton traveled to North Korea to secure the release of two U.S. journalists who had been arrested along the Chinese-North Korean border and sentenced by North Korean authorities to 12 years in a labor camp.