Saudi newspaper al-Madina today reported that Israeli Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu has agreed to release senior Fatah man Marwan Barghouti as part of a deal for the release of captive soldier Gilad ben Aviva Shalit.
The report said the German mediator told Hamas that Israel was willing to include Barghouti in the deal, but would not add the remaining names on Hamas’ list.
The Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment on the matter, according to Israel Radio.
Meanwhile, Hamas said it was ready to return to talks with Israel over the prisoner exchange deal, senior official Mahmoud Zahar said in an interview with Palestinian news agency SPA on Tuesday. Just one day earlier, Zahar had told Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram that Israeli talk about progress in the prisoner exchange negotiations was exaggerated, and intended to divert attention from the harsh actions the state carries out against Palestinian prisoners in its jails.
Earlier in the week, Netanyahu confirmed media rumors that negotiations with Hamas had been renewed via German mediator Gerhard Konrad, who was reported to have met with senior Hamas officials in the past few weeks regarding the prisoner exchange talks.
Netanyahu on Sunday said that the government is “constantly working in various ways to try and bring Gilad home,” going on to say that its primary method was through the “German-mediated negotiations that were renewed a few weeks ago.”