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Shalit. Prisoner swap deal progressing?
Photo: Noam Rotem
Report: Israel compromises on demands in Shalit deal
Al-Hayat newspaper quotes 'reliable sources' as saying Israel reduced number of prisoners it refuses to release, agreed to free all female prisoners
The third round of indirect negotiations on the Shalit prisoner swap deal resumed in Cairo last Tuesday, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported Friday. According to the report, Israel has agreed to release all of the female Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel as well as Arab-Israeli security prisoners.

 

The report further stated that Israel has also reduced the number of prisoners it refuses to release, from 120 to 40. Jerusalem is also reportedly willing to reduce the number of prisoners it refuses to allow back into the West Bank.

 

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The report quotes "reliable sources" as saying that talks are being led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy David Meidan and Hamas's military wing chief Ahmed Jabari.

 

The sources said that Egypt has drawn up a draft which addresses all the uncontested points as well as new ideas Cairo has raised in the hopes of minimizing the gaps between Israel and Hamas. The same sources noted that the parties can now discuss the draft with the decision makers at home.

 

Al-Hayat reported that the sources expressed optimism at chances of finalizing a prisoner swap deal which will see captive soldier Gilad Shalit released.

 

'Indirect talks renewed'

According to various reports, Egypt succeeded in restarting indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas last month. Two rounds of talks were held in Cairo after which Egypt decided to suspend negotiations to allow the parties to learn each other's proposals.

 

On Thursday, it was reported that Hassan Yusuf, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, had said that "Israeli media reports suggesting that progress has been made in the Shalit deal are baseless."

 

Meanwhile, Hamas operative Abdullah Barghouti, who is serving 67 life terms in Israel for terror offenses, claimed that senior defense establishment officials have been negotiating part of the deal with him – within prison walls.

 

Also Thursday, Noam Shalit addressed a UN press conference in NY and called for the release of his son Gilad while stressing that a Palestinian state cannot be recognized in UN when leadership is entangled with Hamas.

 

 

 

 

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