Signs of imminent prisoners deal between Israel and Hamas
Several signs point to an imminent deal between Israel and Hamas over captured Israeli solider Gilad Shalit that could possibly involve Shalit’s release from Gaza Strip in exchange for hundreds of jailed Palestinians. “The recent numerous visits to Egypt conducted by political and military Hamas leaders, as well as the entrance into the game by the German negotiator, suggest that the Shalit deal is on its way to completion,” Hamas-affiliated reporter Mustafa Sawaf wrote.
According to Sawaf, negotiations are no longer over the details of deal, rather the process through which it would be carried out. The concerns, he added, are now over whether freed Palestinian prisoners will be released by Israel to their homes in the West Bank and Gaza, or abroad.
He did, however, maintain that it is too soon to know when a prisoner exchange would take place.
Israeli press has also recently said that Hamas likely seeks the exchange now so it can claim a success after many in Gaza have blamed it for the causalities in January’s Gaza war.
It has also been reported that a high-level Hamas delegation, including Ahmed Jabri, the leader of its military wing, has went to Damascus via Cairo. The last time Jabri left Gaza was the last time Shalit’s released seemed achievable. Negotiations have been Cairo-based because Israel refuses to directly speak with Hamas, leaving negotiations to third parties.
While talks look promising Hamas has said no breakthrough has happened yet, though advances have been made.