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Al-Zahar heads to Syria
Photo: AP

Israel lowers expectations on Shalit deal

Officials in Jerusalem say 'one can never know with Hamas,' add that swap could be finalized very quickly should group choose to do so; earlier Tuesday, senior Hamas figures head to Syria for talks

Officials in Jerusalem are waiting for Hamas' response to the latest Israeli prisoner swap offer, but an Israeli source noted that "with Hamas one can never know," seeking to keep expectations low.

 

One official noted that Hamas' reply and the finalization of a deal could be a matter of days, or take much longer. "The affair could end very quickly should Hamas want to," he said.

 

Meanwhile, Hamas sources told Ynet Tuesday that Israel is seeking to toughen its positions. The sources also sought to dismiss reports about a deal by the Feast of Sacrifice this Friday, stressing that any attempt to exert pressure on the group ahead of the holiday is doomed for failure.

 

Hamas leaders head to Syria

Senior Hamas figures left Cairo Tuesday en route to Damascus, where they were expected to discuss the details of the Shalit prisoner swap.

 

Egypt's news agency reported that Mahmoud al-Zahar and Khalil al-Haya were sent to Syria for consultations before they will continue to negotiate in Cairo.

 

Al-Haya said that his movement continues to insist on its prisoner release demands, adding that Israeli stubbornness in the face of Hamas' stipulations could torpedo the swap.

 

'Rightist and radical'

Meanwhile, Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti of Fatah, whose name has been mentioned in connection with the list of released detainees, has stated that diplomatic negotiations have failed to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners.

 

In a letter he sent from jail, Barghouti slammed Israel, saying its "rightist and radical" government espouses occupation and settlements.

 

Earlier, Barghouti's brother expressed his confidence that the Fatah leader will be freed as part of the Shalit swap.

 

Ali Waked contributed to the story

 


פרסום ראשון: 11.24.09, 21:23
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