Hamas leader condemns Shalit video


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A senior Hamas leader has condemned the cartoon video released by the terrorist organization’s armed wing showing Gilad Shalit returning in a coffin.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and part of the Gaza Strip leadership, on Monday condemned the video showing the captive Israeli soldier’s father wandering deserted streets looking at billboard after billboard of Israeli leaders promising to work for his son’s release. Noam Shalit is finally shown, having aged by many years, waiting at the Erez checkpoint for the return of his son.

As Noam Shalit shouts "No!" at the sight of the flag-draped coffin, he jerks awake inside a protest tent and realizes it is a dream.

"There is still hope," reads the closing caption of the video, followed by the symbol for Hamas.

The cartoon appeared on the Web site of Hamas’ armed wing, Izzadin A-Qassam Brigades, and was distributed to Israeli television stations. Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid nearly four years ago and is being held in Gaza.

"We have not killed in the past and will never kill captive Israeli soldiers," Zahar said. "Our morals prevent us from doing so."

Zahar said the video "does not reflect Hamas’ official stance."

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis committed on a Facebook group to wear white Tuesday in solidarity with Shalit.

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