Photo: Noam Rotem
Captive soldier Gilad Shalit
Photo: Noam Rotem

Report: Hamas wants Israeli-Arabs released as part of Shalit deal

Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reports Israel's refusal to release east Jerusalem prisoners as part of exchange deal main obstacle hindering release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit

One of the main points of dispute hindering a deal for the release of captive solider Gilad Shalit, is Israel's refusal to Hamas' demand that Israeli-Arab security prisoners, and in particular residents of east Jerusalem, be released as part of the deal, London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper report Monday.


The paper did not provide any additional details in the matter.


On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to lower expectations following optimistic Arab and German reports on an imminent prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.


"We are not facing a breakthrough tomorrow or the day after," Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday.


Addressing the wave of reports, he clarified that "the talks about it are unfounded. There are too many talks about Gilad Shalit – and moreover, there is a lot of exaggeration and a lot of inaccurate information."


Despite the PM's statements, efforts to secure Shalit's release are ongoing, and special envoy Hagai Hadas, arrived in Cairo on Sunday for meetings with the Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and his German counterpart Ernest Uhrlau the Saudi daily Al-Madina reported.


Recently there have been numerous reports of an imminent breakthrough in negotiations, and it was reported on Saturday by German weekly Der Spiegel that Hamas was given until the beginning of September to approve a deal.


According to the report, the swap mediated by Germany's foreign intelligence service will see Israel release 450 Palestinian prisoners in the first phase of the deal.


The latest report contradicts earlier Palestinian reports claiming the deal was awaiting Israel's endorsement. According to the German report, Hamas is in fact facing a three-day ultimatum to respond to the proposal.


However, Western European sources who are privy to the details of talks, told Ynet over the weekend that there is still much work to be done, and that recent optimistic reports are slightly exaggerated. Israeli military sources were all quoted by al-Sharq al-Awsat as making similar remarks.


Gilad Shalit was captured into the Gaza Strip 1,162 days ago


פרסום ראשון: 08.31.09, 08:24
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