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'Cairo wary of Egyptian public's response to Grapel deal'
October 13, 2011 13:23
Former Egyptian ambassador to Israel tells Egyptian paper release of convicted Israeli spy part of Cairo recent secretive regional diplomacy.
Ilan Grapel in an interview to Channel 10 in 2006

Ilan Grapel_311. (photo credit:Channel 10 News)

Egypt is concerned over the Egyptian public’s reaction to a deal that would allow for the release of jailed American- Israeli law student Ilan Grapel, who has been detained in Cairo for more than five months, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Thursday.

According to the report, former Egyptian ambassador to Israel, Mohammed Assem, said that Egyptian public’s response to the Grapel deal may be unpredictable in Egypt’s present state, characterized by “revolutionary anger” since former president Hosni Mubarak was deposed in February.

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'Cairo wants dozens of prisoners in exchange for Grapel'

Assem noted that the Grapel case; the Hamas-Israeli deal for the release of Gilad Schalit, mediated by Cairo, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s official apology to Egypt over the deaths of six of its security forces on the Sinai border, and the deployment of Egyptian troops in the Taba area – near the Israeli border – were all part of Egypt’s secretive diplomatic efforts, which were conducted behind closed doors to maintain Egyptian dignity.

These developments do “not mean that relations between Egypt and Israel are rosy,” Assem said.

There have been conflicting reports coming out of Egypt as to the details of a potential deal between Egypt and Israel, with Al-Ahram reporting that Israel is prepared to release 25 Egyptian prisoners, and Al-Masry Al- Youm quoting “informed sources” as saying the number may be as high as 81.

The latter paper also claimed that the negotiations had entered their final phase.
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