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The status of Gilad Shalit appears to be a little closer to resolution, according to sources speaking to London-based Al-Hayat, an Arabic newspaper. According to these sources, Hamas has dropped its demand for the immediate release of 1,000 Palestinians for Shalit under increasing pressure from Egypt:
Reportedly, the Hamas leadership has withdrawn its demand that concurrent with Shalit's release, Palestinian security prisoners would be immediately released by Israel.
Instead, Hamas is said to be willing to free Shalit, and wait two months for Israel to release some 1000 prisoners
Al-Hayat claimed that Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal was expected to hear Israel's response to the proposal when he travels from Damascus to Cairo next week to meet with head of Egyptian intelligence Omar Suleiman.
Israel had agreed in principle earlier to release a large number of Palestinian prisoners in order to get Shalit back. However, Mashaal reneged on the offer, embarrassing Egypt and prompting the Israelis to continue their military operations in Gaza. Egypt had put itself in position to win an important diplomatic victory and demonstrate its influence in the region, but instead looked impotent -- a status that dictators like Hosni Mubarak cannot long abide.
Their pressure appears to have paid dividends, but it remains to be seen whether Mashaal will honor this agreement. Mashaal has not seemed terribly motivated to help bring an end to the fighting in Gaza. Perhaps Palestinians might ask themselves why Mashaal wants Israel in Gaza and for the fighting to continue. Could it be that Mashaal sees opportunity for Hamas in military action and has no qualms about sacrificing Gazans in order to feed his political ambitions?
Israel, on the other hand, should reconsider this deal even with the two-month delay on prisoner releases. Paying ransom for its soldiers, especially in such lopsided terms, guarantees that Israel will have more of its soldiers abducted for more ransom. This pattern has repeated itself many times in Israel, and the Israelis have learned to play along with the terrorists, even when all they get back are the dead bodies of their troops. If Israel wants to see an end to this tactic, then Israel has to stop making it pay dividends.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Shalit For 1,000 Players To Be Named Later The status of Gilad Shalit appears to be a little closer to resolution, according to sources speaking to London-based Al-Hayat, an Arabic newspaper. According to these sources, Hamas has dropped its demand [Read More]
Tracked on October 27, 2006 6:38 AM
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