A senior Arab source said that Israel
and Hamas are working their way towards a deal on the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, the Saudi paper Okaz reported. Sources also say that an Israeli security delegation is in Cairo to discuss the details of the deal.
According to the report, the Israeli delegation is holding a series of meetings with Egyptian officials in attempts to hasten Shalit's release. The paper stated that as part of the deal, Israel will release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners according to a plan which includes several stages:
First, the captive soldier, Shalit, will be released; three days later, 350 prisoners that were sentenced to serve short terms in prison will be released; several days later, 350 convicts who were sentenced to medium terms behind bars will be released; and 10 days later, 300 convicts sentenced to long terms will be released.
The article further stated that former Fatah Secretary-General in the West Bank Marwan Barghouti, who was tried in Israel and sentenced to five consecutive life terms, will not be released. Members of the Hamas parliament and its ministers who were recently arrested by Israel will also not be released.
The paper stated that Israel would release the Palestinian officials following the creation of a Palestinian national unity government, because Israel is attempting to keep the detainees from being a part of a future government.
The Arab source revealed that the meetings in Egypt are ongoing and have been held for some time. The deal will be finalized according to the developments on the matter.
Past reports published various details about the deal to release Gilad Shalit, and some reported that Hamas required Israel to release between 600 to 1,000 prisoners, including the release of jailed Palestinian women, minor inmates, ill inmates, prisoners serving long-term sentences and prisoners with "blood on their hands."