• Lebanon
  • September 3, 2006
  • 2 minutes read

Hebrew press: Negotiations underway to swap Palestinian prisoners with captured soldier

Israel has agreed to free 800 Palestinian captives from its jails in return for releasing its captured soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been in Palestinian resistance hands since 25th June 2006, according to Hebrew press reports.

Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Sunday quoted unidentified political sources as saying that the swap would take place over three stages the first: releasing 300 prisoners that would coincide with releasing the soldier.

They said that the second stage would take place a few weeks later when another batch of 300 prisoners are released and finally in the third stage, before end of this year, a final batch of 200 prisoners would be released.

The paper said that Egypt was mediating in the issue and carrying proposals between the two parties (Israel and the Palestinians), and pointed to the visits to Cairo by Israeli security delegation over the past few days.

A security source in Cairo said on Saturday that the prisoners exchange would be delayed because of the timeframe set for the release of Palestinian captives.

However, the Hebrew paper said that contacts were in progress in Gaza through the Egyptian security delegation, and said that Israel was planning to free the prisoners on the Islamic Eidul Fitr feast, which follows the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The paper further noted that the kidnapped PA ministers and lawmakers would not be freed in the same deal but rather would be separately released on formation of the Palestinian national unity government.