Abu Mujahed, the spokesperson of the Salah Din brigade, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, stated in an interview on Thursday that there are no new developments in a possible prisoner swap deal with Israel, due to Israel's rejection of a number of different proposals put forward by the Palestinian resistance. The Popular Resistance Committees are one of three Palestinian resistance factions who claim responsibility for capturing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and holding him in custody since 2006.
Although a prisoner swap deal had apparently been in process, negotiated by Egyptian officials, the latest statements coming out of both the Israeli and Palestinian sides indicate that the deal is off the table.
Also on Thursday, the father of the captured Israeli soldier, Noam Shalit, blasted the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for what he saw as Olmert's obstruction of the release of his son.
"Why must only Gilad Shalit, of the entire chain of command involved in the abduction botch-up, have to pay the price?", stated Noam Shalit at a rally in support of his son. He accused Olmert of, "hesitating, avoiding decisions, putting off action, in contrast to his predecessors, who knew how to make a decision and act on it."
The Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahranoth reported two weeks ago that the Palestinian Hamas movement had submitted a list of names of Palestinian prisoners they hoped to be released to the Egyptian negotiators, adding that Israeli sources had admitted that they were negotiating the release of 400 – 500 Palestinian prisoners. Israel currently holds over 10,000 Palestinians in prison camps, many of them held without charge. In contrast, the Palestinian resistance holds one Israeli soldier prisoner.
Previously, according to Yedioth Ahranoth, Israel had refused to release Palestinian prisoners who were involved in the resistance against the Israeli occupation in any way. Israeli sources told the paper that Hamas is attempting to engage in a psychological campaign against Israel by accusing Israel of obstructing the negotiation for a prisoner release.
It should be noted that over 1,500 Palestinians have been taken prisoner by Israeli forces in the time period in which this negotiation is supposed to have been carried out.