Gilad Schalit old 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Fifty activists in the Negev on Monday tried to stop Palestinians from visiting
their jailed relatives, as the media reported that Hamas and Israel has begun a
new round of indirect negotiations in Cairo for the release of captive soldier
The protesters blocked a road at Halukim Junction to stop
the bus from arriving at the Nifha prison.
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According to Channel 10,
protesters parked a vehicle across the road as the bus approached.
protesters tried to board the bus to speak with prisoners’ family
Police arrived on the scene and escorted the bus carrying
visitors to the prison down a different route to its destination.
the protest, activists hung signs on the bus that said “Who is visiting Gilad?”
“No visitation for Gilad – no visitation for you too,” and “Gilad wants to go
home.” The protesters contrasted the poor conditions of Schalit’s captivity to
the good conditions enjoyed by Palestinian security prisoners, who receive
family visitation rights. The protesters said they were angry over Hamas’s
refusal to allow anyone to visit Schalit in Gaza, including the International
According to the London-based newspaper Al Hayat
were reportedly taking place in an Egyptian intelligence complex, with
Palestinians and Israelis meeting with Egyptian officials in separate rooms.
Egyptian mediators carried messages from room to room in order to conduct
The Palestinian delegation was led by Mohammed al-Ja’bari,
a senior member of Hamas’s military wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassa, and the Israeli
side by David Midan, the head of the special envoy in the Schalit affair. Midan
is a former senior Mossad official.
According to the report, published
representatives from Jerusalem and the Islamist group met last week but failed
to produce any results in negotiations, prompting Egyptian mediators to push for
A senior Egyptian official told Al Hayat
Monday, “It is
not yet possible to talk about any breakthroughs in negotiations,” but added
optimistically that “there is a real willingness by both sides to move forward
on the deal, and Israel is ready to pay the price for freeing
Hamas has, as of late, expressed optimism that current
negotiations will lead to fruitful results.
According to Al Hayat
senior official from the Islamist group said last Wednesday his movement expects
“positive developments” in efforts to achieve a prisoner swap with Israel in
return for Schalit.
Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the Damascus- based
Hamas “political bureau,” said his optimism was based on “internal pressure” on
the Israeli government and changes in the makeup of the mediating
Hamas, he added, continues to insist on the release of prisoners
who are serving lengthy sentences, opposes the deportation of inmates to other
countries and won’t compromise on the number of prisoners it has demanded in
return for Schalit.
In the past Hamas has asked for the release of 1,000
prisoners in exchange Schalit.
It has insisted that Israel must release
450 prisoners that it names, and that Israel can determine the other 550 to be
Hamas has included prisoners responsible for terror attacks
against Israelis in its list.
A spokesman for the Campaign to Free Gilad
Schalit said the family had not been notified of any new
The Prime Minister’s Office and Defense Minister Ehud Barak
would not comment Monday on the reports.
Barak said the less the matter
was talked about the better. To speak of any efforts to release Schalit, only
decreases the chance of their success, he said.
Schalit has been held
captive by Hamas in Gaza for the last five years.Khaled Abu Toameh
contributed to this report.