The Saudi newspaper, al-Madina, reported that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, agreed to release detained Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi as part of a prisoner-swap deal for the release of captured prisoner of war Corporal Gilad Shalit. The paper said that the German mediator informed Hamas that Israel agreed to the release of Barghouthi, but still rejects the release of other detainees named by Hamas.

Several weeks ago, the German mediator failed to convince Hamas to accept Israeli terms that included an “easing” of the siege on Gaza and the release of a limited number of political detainees.

Initially Israel had rejected the release of Barghouthi and Israel still demands the expulsion of a certain number of the detainees who are expected to be released under the swap deal.

Two days ago, Netanyahu revealed that talks about Shalit had resumed with the German mediator; however, details were not provided.

Furthermore, Lawyer Fadwa Barghouthi, the wife of Marwan, told a German representative of anti-nuclear groups in Ramallah that she received confirmed news that her husband will be released in the swap deal.

Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped on June 25, 2006, by Palestinian fighters during a raid targeting an Israeli military base near the Gaza border. Two soldiers and two fighters were killed in the attack.

Shalit is the only Israeli prisoner of war held by the Palestinians. More than 8,000 detainees are currently imprisoned by Israel: this number includes hundreds of children, elderly, and detainees in need of urgent medical attention. In addition, there are 34 female detainees currently imprisoned by Israel.

the Palestinian Prisoner Society reported that more than 200 Palestinians died in Israeli prisons. The causes of death were attributed to extreme torture and medical negligence. Some detainees were shot dead by arresting Israeli officers and soldiers.