Hamas members announce videotape deal
Photo: AFP
Photo: Noam Rotem
Gilad Shalit: 1,194 days in captivity
Photo: Noam Rotem
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Mashaal in Cairo
Photo: AP

Hamas: Prayer book to be handed to Shalit

Sources involved in negotiations on prisoner exchange deal say 'videotape deal' made possible when Palestinian group agreed to deliver Book of Psalms Rabbi Ovadia Yosef sent to kidnapped soldier. 'Further developments expected soon, but a deal is still far away,' one of sources says

Hamas members have received the Book of Psalms sent to Gilad Shalit from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and promised Egyptian negotiators that they would deliver it to the kidnapped soldier, Ynet has learned from sources involved in the negotiations on a prisoner exchange deal.


On Friday, Israel is slated to receive a videotape containing a sign of life from the captive, in exchange for the release of 20 Palestinian prisoners.


The Psalms and prayer book were handed over to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by Interior Minister Eli Yishai about two weeks ago, during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Cairo.


Mubarak gave the books to Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman and asked him to make sure that they reach the soldier.


According to the sources, the trust which led to the recent moves began building up when Hamas agreed to receive the books and deliver them to Shalit. Up to now, the Palestinian group has refused to transfer anything to the captive soldier, for fear that Israel would take advantage of the situation in order to try and locate him.


Rabbi Yosef's dedication on book (Photo:


The sources involved in the negotiations added that the German mediator had received the videotape from the Egyptian intelligence representative, who got it from Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, after the latter joined a Hamas delegation from Gaza, headed by Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahahr.


Despite the active and efficient German mediation, the sources stressed that the recent development would not have been possible had Mashaal not arrived in Cairo, and had he not held talks with the Egyptian intelligence chief.


The first report, they said, was published by an Egyptian security source, "showing that Egypt's role is greater than described by the media."


According to one of the sources involved in the talks, "Further development are expected soon, but the road to completing the deal is still long and many obstacles and difficulties are expected."


Israeli officials said Wednesday evening that the tape slated to be handed over to Israel is one-minute long and shows the kidnapped soldier with his face to the camera. The video will also include proof that it was taken recently.


'Family to watch tape in private'

The news on the expected tape was received with a lot of excitement by the residents of Mitzpe Hila, where the Shalit family lives.


"It's clear that the family members would want to watch the tape in private," said a member of the Gilad Shalit Campaign. "Despite the great public and national interest, we are talking about parents and siblings who will be receiving a sign of life from their kidnapped son for the first time in years."


Ronia Harari of Mitzpe Hila expressed her hope that "this is only the beginning, and that the tape points to progress being made.


"My children were also very excited," she said. "This is the first time they realized the whole issue of the price. The fact that 20 female prisoners are being released for one tape made them understand the meaning of the full price for Gilad's release."


Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into the Gaza Strip 1,194 days ago.


Ahiya Raved and Roni Sofer contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 10.01.09, 01:24
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