JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Hamas official accused the Palestinian Authority of quashing a deal for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
A French and Qatari effort to broker a prisoner exchange was nearly successful when the Palestinian Authority walked away from the deal because the Fatah officials believed it would weaken them, Sheik Yunis El-Astel told Israel’s daily Ha’aretz Tuesday.
El-Astel also said that Israel had accepted Hamas conditions, including the release of terrorists with "blood on their hands," according to Ha’aretz.
The Palestinian Authority was set to release dozens of Hamas prisoners from jails in the West Bank Wednesday as a goodwill gesture ahead of talks to form a Palestinian unity government, set to take place Thursday in Cairo, Ha’aretz reported. Eight Hamas members were freed Tuesday.