Gershon Baskin 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Gershon Baskin, a Jerusalem Post columnist and founder of the Israel-
Palestine Center for Research and Information, revealed on Wednesday that he
conducted back-channel negotiations with Hamas’s Ghazi Hamad on a prisoner
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Baskin served as a secret mediator between Israel and Hamas,
reporting back to Israeli official David Meidan.
He said he came to view
Hamad as “a person who I trust and who trusts me and someone who is the new face
of Hamas willing to work for peace with Israelis.”
Baskin said he and
Hamad exchanged numerous emails, but did not negotiate on actual
“It was more about the principles of negotiations, the issues
that had to be negotiated. And in the end, the breakthrough was when we
produced a document in which Hamas, for the first time, indicated
what it would take to close a deal,” Baskin said.
“The real hero is David
Meidan, the special representative of Netanyahu who was willing to take risks,
break the rules and understood the passion and commitment that I brought to the
table,” Baskin wrote in an e-mail. “The other real hero is Dr. Ghazi Hamad from
Hamas who has been working with me for five years to secure the release of Gilad."
“And, of course, my good
friend the Egyptian mediator who I've known for years and succeeded where all others
“And lastly, I must say that nothing would have happened
without Binyamin Netanyahu deciding that it was time to bring Gilad home, even
though he was in principle opposed to the deal – he broke his own principles in
favor of humanism and compassion,” Baskin wrote.