Abbas: Shalit Mediator May Quit


abbasThe German mediator overseeing talks between Hamas and Israel over the release of captured IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Shalit has given the sides two-three weeks to come to an agreement, Al-Ahram quoted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as saying yesterday.

According to the report, Abbas said that if a deal was not secured within two to three weeks, the mediator would resign from his post.

The PA president stressed that he supported a prisoner exchange deal, and told the Egyptian paper that the Palestinians were paying a heavy price for Shalit’s capture.

Abbas added that the release of any Palestinian prisoner was an accomplishment in the eyes of his people.

Meanwhile on Shabbos, a leading Egyptian defense official who formerly served as Cairo’s ambassador to Israel denied that Israel would today give Hamas its final answer concerning a Shalit deal.

Citing an Al-Hayat interview, Israel Radio quoted Mohammed Basyouni as saying that the two sides still disagreed over 50 prisoners that Israel refused to release within the framework of a deal, among them Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine head Ahmed Sa’adat.

The ball is now in Israel’s court, Basyouni reportedly said.

Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman is slated to travel to Israel on Sunday, but officials in Cairo have denied that the visit is directly related to the Shalit talks.

In related news, the Fox News network reported Friday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had been reluctant to sign a prisoner exchange proposal that Hamas presented three weeks ago.

According to the report, the seven senior members of the security cabinet were divided over the proposed deal.

An Israeli source “familiar with the negotiations” was quoted by Fox as suggesting that the German mediator was biased in favor of Hamas. “Israel is being played by the German mediator,” the source reportedly told Fox News. “And he seems to be more favorable to Hamas, possibly because of the German government’s economic ties with Iran, known to be Hamas’s financial and ideological backer.”

“Time kills all deals,” the unnamed Israeli source added.

The Fox report also quoted an Egyptian source as confirming that talks had been stalled and were awaiting a formal Israeli response for the past three weeks.

{JPost/Yair Israel}


  1. The German mediator overseeing talks between Hamas and Israel over the release of captured IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Shalit – German mediator ??? that’s Wonderful.