Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, held a session on Monday morning with his special envoy for the release of the captured soldier, Ophir Dekel, and members of several security agencies, and was informed that no progress had been made on the issue of the captured Israeli soldier.
Olmert stated that no progress has been made on the case of Gilad Shalit, who was captured on June 25 2006 by Palestinian fighters who raided a military camp across the Gaza border.
Olmert claimed that the Palestinian demands are “exaggerated” since Israel does not intend to release 1000 – 1400 Palestinian detainees in exchange for the release of Shalit.
On Sunday evening, Olmert phoned the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and congratulated him on Al Adha feast.
Sources at Olmert’s office stated that the two leaders agreed to act on what they agreed upon ten days ago.
The two also discussed the release of Palestinian detainees and the removal of a number of Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank.
The sources added that only a limited number of checkpoints will be removed, in spite of a sharp objection from the military.
Also, the source stated that Olmert does not intend to release Palestinian detainees before Shalit is freed.
Olmert is expected to meet the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, next Thursday; the two leaders are expected to declare a prisoner-swap deal during their meeting.
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the three factions holding the Israeli soldier captive accepted the Israeli proposal for prisoner swap.
The Israeli proposal was delivered to Hamas by Egypt’s Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman.
Suleiman met with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, in Saudi Arabia, and will most likely meet with Hamas political bureau chief, Khalid Mashal.
According to Israeli sources, Israel suggested that Hamas should hand it a video tape that proves that Shalit is still alive, after the tape is viewed and verified Israel will release a number of underage and female detainees.
The second stage, according to the Israeli proposal, will be moving Shalit to Egypt in return of the release of 450 Palestinian detainees. Hamas will present the names of the detainees, and Israel will be requested to approve them.
The third stage is expected to be carried out after three months, Israel refused to specify the number of detainees who will be freed and vowed “to be generous” in this issue.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Ahmad Abu Al Reet, was informed on the details of the Israeli proposal during his last week visit to Israel.
Meanwhile, sources in Hamas reported that “there is good news coming along” but refused to give any further details.
Abu Obadiah, spokesperson of the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, stated during an interview with the Israeli radio that there is a progress in the prisoner-swap talks.