Head of Security Committee at the Palestinian Legislative Council, and
a senior Fateh leader, Mohammad Dahlan, headed to Egypt for talks on a
possible prisoners swap deal with Israel.
Dahlan intends to hold talks with several Egyptian security officials for several days in an attempt to broker a deal for prisoners swap that would be implemented in three phases.
The deal involves releasing Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was abducted by Palestinian resistance fighters on June 25 after resistance fighters attacked an Israeli military bases, two soldiers and two fighters were killed in the attack.
The Israeli radio reported that a number of Palestinian detainees will be released in three phases; first 300 detainees will be released before Al Fitir Muslim feast, while the other detainees will be release in two stages before the end of the year.
The Radio said on Sunday that a senior Israeli security official visited Cairo recently to discuss the release of Shalit.
The official, Ofer Dekel, was appointed by Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to be in charge of the file of the soldiers abducted by Palestinian fighters in Gaza, and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.
A spokeswoman of the Israeli Prime Ministers decline to comment in the talks, but said that “Israel does not negotiate with terrorists”.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, told the Israeli Radio that releasing the abducted soldiers is “the key for a new era in the Middle East”.
Cairo has been conducting extensive efforts and holds mediation talks since the current crises began. Israeli news paper, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported that secret talks are currently taking place in order to secure a prisoner swap deal that includes releasing 800 Palestinian detainees in exchange for Shalit.
Yet, Israeli terminology for releasing detainees does not includes “prisoners with blood on their hands” referring to detainees accused of killing Israelis and soldiers.
At least 10000 detainees remain in Israeli detention facilities and prisoner, among them children and women; hundreds of detainees were arrested prior to the Oslo agreement signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation organization in on September 13, 1993.