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Israel Should Rethink Hamas Blockade, Opposition Says

Israel must re-evaluate its relations with Hamas following the release of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, Kadima MK Nachman Shai said on Tuesday, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?s cabinet to take advantage of what he called a ?small window of opportunity.?

Earlier Tuesday, Shalit arrived in Israel and was reunited with his family following five years in Hamas captivity, as part of a prisoner exchange deal with the Gaza-ruling militant group

Commenting on the successful execution of the Shalit swap deal, the Kadima MK urged Israeli leaders to take advantage of the recent agreement, and rethink its stance on Hamas as well as on the Gaza blockade.

?With Gilad Shalit?s return home, Israel needs to weigh the possibility that relations with Hamas may be open to change,? MK Shai said, adding that ?the blockade on Gaza was, in a significant way, dictated by Giald?s abduction and captivity.?

With Shalit?s return, the Kadima MK indicated, Israel had to ?reevaluate its stance toward Hamas as part of a renewed attempt to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.?

?This is a small window of opportunity that forces the government to present diplomatic initiative, and not to continue fortifying itself behind old stances,? Shai said.

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