Shin Bet Chief: Shalit Negotiations Failed as Hamas Did Not Stop Their Demands

Yuval Diskin also speaks of alleged whistleblower Anat Kam, saying that the press has important role in democracy but has to respect the security service.

Shin Bet Security Service Director Yuval Diskin said Wednesday that the 2009 round of negotiations with Hamas for the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit failed as the Hamas did not stop their demands, and accepting them would lead to "a slippery slope."

”The Hamas members who were part of the delegation in Cairo did not want to stop [raising heir demands] at any point," Diskin said at an event marking 30 days to the death of Journalist, editor and Israel Prize laureate Dov Yudkovsky in Tel Aviv.

Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin
Tomer Appelbaum

"They were certain that no matter what demands they placed, the public pressure would lead to their acceptance," he said, adding that "at some point I knew it was a slippery slope."

Hamas wants some 1,400 prisoners released from Israeli jails in return for handing over the Shalit, who was captured in a cross-border raid in June 2006 and has remained in Hamas custody since then.

Israel has balked at a number of the names on Hamas' list - which includes some responsible for deadly terror attacks in Israel - agreeing to free around 980 prisoners.
Earlier this month, Al-Hayat reported that the German Shalit talks mediator Gerhard Conrad concluded a two-day visit to the Gaza Strip where he held talks with senior Hamas leaders.

The report also added that the German mediator was due back in Gaza soon in order to receive Hamas' official response for his ideas.

Speaking before guests including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Likud Minister Silvan Shalom and former judge Meir Shemgar, Diskin also spoke about the espionage affair involving alleged whistleblower Anat Kam, who is suspected of stealing confidential IDF documents and providing them to Haaretz reporter Uri Blau.

"My organization supports freedom of press," Diskin said, adding that "the work the press does in a democratic country is no less important than the work done by the security service and the intelligence community, but I expect that the press respect the security service."

"We invest extensive efforts in generating intelligence but we have to show mutual responsibility," Diskin said, adding that he was surprised by the vast quantity of papers that Kam allegedly stole.