An Egyptian source reported that officials in Cairo confirmed that the country has resumed its role as a mediator in prisoner-swap talks between Israel and resistance factions holding Israeli corporal, Gilad Shalit, who has been held in captivity since June 2006. Egypt and Germany are the two main countries that have played a direct intervention role in swap talks.
The report said that talks held by Amos Gilad, the head of Israel’s Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic Bureau, and Egypt’s Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman.
Political leaders of Hamas will be heading to Egypt Saturday to discuss Israel’s offer for a prisoner swap deal. The talks were halted after Egypt and Germany held extensive separate talks with Israel and Hamas, but the talks did not achieve any progress.
Although Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, offered to release 1,000 detainees under the condition of sending them to Gaza or expelling them abroad, he refused to free the key figures the resistance demands he release.
Egypt managed on previous occasions to convince Hamas and Israel to declare a truce, but its extensive efforts to achieve a swap deal have been unsuccessful so far.
Hamas and other factions holding Shalit presented a list of detainees to be released under the deal, but Israeli rejected most of the names mentioned in the list, mainly fighters and political leaders such as Marwan Barghouthi and Ahmad Sa’dat, and refuses to release of Palestinians believed to be responsible for attacks against Israel.
Hamas also wants the release of all female detainees, children, elderly, the ailing detainees and detainees who spent so many years behind bars.