JERUSALEM (JTA) — Negotiations between Hamas and Israel to release kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit have hit a significant snag, according to news reports.
A senior Hamas source told the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat last Friday that a proposed deal to release Shalit in exchange for Israeli-held Palestinian prisoners had hit three obstacles: Israel’s refusal to release 50 of the 450 prisoners requested for release by Hamas; Israel’s refusal to include Israeli-Arab prisoners in the deal; and Israel’s insistence on deporting 130 of the prisoners.
A German mediator has been relating negotiation points between Gaza and Israel, according to al-Hayat.
Hamas reportedly will not make a deal without the release of 15 specific prisoners, including West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti; Ahmed Saadat, secretary-general of the Popular Resistance for the Liberation of Palestine; and 10 leaders of Hamas’ military wing, according to the Saudi Arabia newspaper al-Watan.
Shalit, now 23, was kidnapped in June 2006 by Hamas operatives near the Gaza border and has been held in Gaza ever since, according to reports. In October, Hamas released a video of a healthy-looking Shalit holding up a Palestinian newspaper bearing a September 2009 masthead.
Meanwhile, a Hamas official told Israel Radio Sunday that a al-Hayat report saying that French doctors had traveled to Gaza last week to examine Shalit was false.