In an interview with the Israeli TV, Channel 1, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that the framework agreement for the release of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of Palestinian detainees, had been reached.An Israeli online daily reported that Abbas said that both sides need to work out the details of the agreement before it is implemented.
Abbas said that he and the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, agreed recently on a framework to solve the issue of the captured soldier. “This process is happening quickly”, he added.
During the interview, Abbas told Channel 1 that there is a serious decision that involves all parties, including the three armed groups that have been holding Shalit captive since last June, to end the issue and reach a prisoner swap deal.
Meanwhile a senior Hamas official, Osama Al Muzaini, said that Abbas' comments are not “as accurate as he said” since there are some issue that still need to be resolved.
Al Muzaini's statements came in an interview with Reuters.
Hamas is that demanding Israel free's 1400 Palestinian political detainees, including women and children, and detainees who have spent many years in Israeli jails and are sentenced to long terms.
Israel rejected the Palestinian demands and said that there should be certain criterion on the detainees who would be freed in the swap deal.
Meanwhile, senior government sources in Israel told the Israeli Ynet news on Thursday that “there was no truth to the reports on a significant breakthrough regarding Shalit’s case”.
The sources added that talks are ongoing but no date had been set for his release.
The organizations behind the abduction of Shalit and the Egyptian delegation agreed to stop issuing statements on Shalit's release so as not to thwart the work done in the past few days, which resulted in significant progress.
A senior Palestinian source involved in talks regarding the release of Shalit in a prisoner swap framework, told the Ynet that if Israel insists not to release one or more detainees the Palestinian factions insist to see freed, the whole process could collapse.
The source added that if Israel does not free dozens of detainees sentenced to life-terms, even for killing Israelis and Israeli soldiers, the whole process could collapse.
The source, who remained anonymous, added that the issue could be solved in days, but it could also take much longer. He stated that the Israeli side is the one “holding the key”, and that of Israel cooperates with the demands, the whole issues could be solved by the end of the month.
“But if Israel does not cooperate, the issue could take an indefinite period of time”, the source added.