Al-Ahmad told them that as far as he knew, Marwan Barghouti, head of the Tanzim organization in the West Bank who was sentenced to five life sentences and another 40 years in prison in Israel, was not on the Hamas list of prisoners for release in exchange for Gilad Shalit.
Al-Ahmad also referred to the political situation in the Palestinian Authority saying that the fact that Hamas had participated in a democratic election demonstrated a change in the organization's position.
Hermoni said that "the Saudi initiative is an opportunity for true negotiations between the parties. We call upon Ehud Olmert and Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), in their meeting tomorrow, to establish teams for intensive negotiations. The more moderate parties in the Authority must promote Gilad Shalit's immediate release."
"We must continue the peace process to cut down on casualties," al-Ahmad said. "The Labor Party and the moderate Israelis and Palestinians must exert pressure to advance the political process." He added that the Palestinians were doing everything possible to release Shalit.
Al-Ahmad, second from right, at meeting with Labor's Young Guard (Photo: Ohad Rotem)
Meeting with HamasOn their way out of the meeting, Hermoni and Amodai bumped into Palestinian Minister of Planning Samir Abu Aisha, from Hamas.
Hermoni told Ynet: "We were standing in the lobby after meeting with the Palestinian deputy premier, when a Hamas member walked into the building. Ma'ayan Amodai said 'shalom,' in Hebrew. The man stopped and started talking to us. We told him that it was important to get Gilad Shalit home and to reach a two-state solution."
Abu Aisha told them that he hoped that Israeli and PA leaders would start a dialogue to reach an agreement based on the 1967 borders.
He said in reference to Shalit, whom he dubbed a 'prisoner', that he hoped the issue will be over soon. He also expressed his hopes that the problem of the Palestinian prisoners will also be resolved in the near future.
Following Hermoni and Amodai's meeting with PA deputy premier, Davidi Hermlin, chairman of Likud's Young Guard said that the Labor party should dismiss the two for what he called "undermining the state of Israel by holding discussions with members of a government that Hamas is a member of."
Ali Waked contributed to the report