Last update - 13:53 01/01/2010
Mubarak to Netanyahu: Accept Hamas' demands for Shalit deal
By Haaretz Service
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has advised Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu to accept Hamas' demands for a prisoner swap deal that would
see the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the Saudi
daily Al-Madina reported on Friday.
According to the report, Mubarak told Netanyahu during their talks in
Cairo earlier this week that Hamas would not give up on the list of
prisoners it wants freed in the swap.
If Israel agrees to show some flexibility on the matter, Mubarak was
reported as saying, then Egypt could guarantee that the deal go through
and even convince Hamas to begin negotiating for a long-term cease-fire
in the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu did not give a concrete response to the proposal, according to
the daily, saying only that Israel would give it consideration and reply
when the time was right.
In recent weeks, Israel has reportedly been close to reaching a deal
with Hamas that would see the release of hundreds of Palestinian
prisoners in exchange for Shalit, who was captured by Gaza militants in
Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said Thursday that Hamas has not
accepted Israel's latest offer, but that the door for completing a
prisoner swap deal "has not been closed."
Hamas movement's leadership held two-day intensive talks in Damascus to
discuss the latest Israeli offer surrounding the deal.
Israel is reportedly still refusing to release 22 Palestinian prisoners
involved in some of the worst terror attacks, including Tanzim leader
Marwan Barghouti, secretary general of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Sa'adat, and two of the heads of Hamas'
military wing in the West Bank, Ibrahim Hamad and Abdullah Barghouti,
who are responsible for the murders of dozens of Israelis in suicide
The names on Israel's list include 15 militants from the West Bank and
seven from the Gaza Strip.
Israel is also reportedly refusing to release 44 prisoners from East
Jerusalem and 20 Israeli Arabs arrested before the Oslo Accord.
After the debates of the Israeli offer in Damascus finished, Hamas said
that the Israeli offer was not accepted, but it would ask the German
mediator to continue his efforts until the deal between Hamas and Israel
Hamas leader did not say if the movement handed its response to the
German mediator in Cairo or whether it will hand him its response later
Zahar said that upon his return from Damascus to Cairo with two other
senior Hamas leaders, the delegation discussed with the Egyptian
officials the Shalit deal, inter-Palestinian reconciliation and the
steel barrier being built by Egypt at the Gaza-Egyptian border