Jerusalem: Israel`s premier on Thursday briefly met
the parents of captive soldier Gilad Shalit who have set up
camp outside his official residence in Jerusalem, his office
"It`s not just the tens of thousands of marchers who
support you, but all the citizens of the state of Israel,"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Noam and Aviva Shalit,
who had led a 12-day march to Jerusalem.
Netanyahu, who had just returned from the United States,
briefed the couple about his talks with US leaders about the
fate of their son, who was captured in a cross-border raid
from the Hamas-ruled Gaza four years ago.
"There are also millions of people abroad who are with
you, as are my wife and myself," Netanyahu told the parents.
"During all my talks abroad, I have insisted on pressures
on Hamas so that Gilad is released," he said.
A senior official said Netanyahu would hold longer talks
with the couple next week.
The Shalit parents have vowed to remain camped outside
the premier`s residence until their son is freed.
Shalit was captured just over four years ago in a raid
from the Gaza Strip that involved Hamas and other fighters.
The Islamist movement, which has ruled Gaza since 2007,
wants hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for
Shalit, including scores of top militants responsible for
Talks with Shalit`s Hamas captors collapsed late last
year when Israel offered via a German mediator to release
about 1,000 prisoners.
Hamas never formally responded, and both sides have since
blamed each other for the stalled talks.
There also has been sharp disagreement inside Netanyahu`s
inner circle over the conditions of the swap, which would have
seen those convicted of deadly attacks released to their homes
in the West Bank.