on the verge of declaring on official truce and a prisoner exchange deal, the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper reported Monday.
The newspaper said that Israel wanted to have the more "senior" Palestinian prisoners slated for release deported to Syria.
These prisoners include Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat, who was involved in the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi at a Jerusalem hotel in 2001.
According to Palestinian sources quoted in the report, the truce could be announced in a matter of days, maybe even hours.
As for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit,
the paper said that the majority of the detailed have been finalized and
the only debate now was the number of prisoner "with blood on their hands" Israel would release in exchange for the captive soldier.
Al-Hayat stated that Israel has agreed to
free 250 Palestinian prisoners out of the 450 men named by Hamas. The release of 230 people has been secured, while 20 named are still debated.
Hamas is demanding Israel include eight of its senior operatives on the list, while Israel is adamant on deciding on the makeup of the list independently.
The newspaper added the Israel has essentially agreed to release four of the eight men, including former Fatah Secretary-General in the West Bank Marwan Barghouti, who was sentenced to five consecutive life terms (125 years) in prison.
Barghouti, added the report, will not face expulsion, but Saadat, along with Hamas' Ibrahim Hamed, former head of the group's military wing in the West Bank, and Abdullah Barghouti, one of the organization's explosive experts and Abd al-Sayad, who planned the 2002 Passover bombing in Netanya – will.
Sunday saw Hamas officials chide Israel's insistence not
to proceed with the ceasefire negotiations unless Shalit's release is secured, as a "last maneuver" by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,
before he leaves office.
Senior Hamas member Dr. Ismail Radwan said that "Olmert is leaving the political arena amid a slew of scandals and
he wants to end this chapter of his life with some sort of an accomplishment to his name so he is trying to grasp at the Shalit issue.
"We see no reason not to push the matter of prisoner exchange but only if the Zionist enemy complies with our demands. The captive soldier has nothing to do with the truce," said Radwan.
The newspaper also reported that its Gaza correspondent received a pre-taped phone call from an unknown number on Sunday, offering a $10 million reward to anyone who could provide credible information leading to the whereabouts of Gilad Shalit.
According to the report, the message gave a UK-based phone number as well as a website address as contact information, stating "confidentiality guaranteed."