Hamas reviews Israeli exchange deal proposal

Published December 23rd, 2009 - 01:26 GMT

A German mediator conveyed to Hamas on Wednesday the Israeli response to a proposed deal to release hundreds of Palestinian detainees for a captured soldier. The Palestinian group said it would need days to review the new draft.


According to Reuters, a Hamas official said he expected the group to dispatch a delegation from the Gaza Strip to Damascus by Thursday to meet exiled Hamas leaders. 


Under the proposed exchange, about 1,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons would be released. Officials familiar with the negotiations said Israel had ruled out releasing a handful of top Palestinian activists serving life sentences for orchestrating lethal attacks. Israel also insists on barring between 100 and 120 other Palestinians from returning to the West Bank.


Hamas had agreed that some prisoners be exiled but wanted them to be able to choose their destinations, officials said. "We have received the Israeli response from the German mediator and it will be studied within a few days," a Hamas official said. "A delegation from the group in Gaza will leave for Syria for a broader discussion."


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