A senior Israeli source stated on Monday that Israel is offering to
release 1000 Palestinian detainees in exchange to the release of the
captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, held by Palestinian fighters in
the Gaza Strip, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
Haaretz added that Israel expects a progress in Shalit's deal especially after the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, met on Monday with the Hamas political bureau chief in Syria, Khaled Mashal.
Last week, Israel informed Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian Intelligence Chief, that it is willing to release Palestinian detainees in exchange for the release of Shalit.
The source added that Israel said that it is willing to release women and children, and several hundred adult males, including prisoners who spent many years in detention. The detainees will be released in stages, starting with women and children.
Egypt, the mediator in the prisoner swap talks, said three days ago that the first stage of the swap will include the transfer of Shalit to Egyptian ground in return for releasing women children.
Shalit will be returned to Israel in the second stage, and in return another group of detainees will be freed. The third stage will also see the release of additional detainees.
So far, it is unclear weather the proposed deal will include the release of Fateh leader, Marwan Barghouthi, who is sentenced to several life terms, and the Jailed secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa'adat, since talks are still about numbers, in addition to women and children.
Yet, Israeli source said that there is still a gap between the demands of Hamas and Israel, Haaretz said, Hamas demands the release of 1400 detainees, while Israel is talking about 300 prisoners.
Suleiman asked Israel to raise the number of detainees, but did not receive a response yet.