Hamas says efforts ongoing to complete Schalit deal

Report of attempts to conclude prisoner swap come as Noam and Aviva Schalit set to mark Gilad's 1,700th day in captivity with rally.

February 18, 2011 14:17
1 minute read.
A PROTEST, calling for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, outside the Prime Minister

Schalit protest 311. (photo credit: AP)

Ongoing efforts are underway to conclude a prisoner swap which would secure the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit from capitivity in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian News Agency Ma'an quoted an informed Hamas source as saying on Friday.

According to the source, German mediator Gerhard Konrad was still involved in the deal, and that a German official had visited Gaza multiple times recently to discuss the issue.

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The report came as Schalit's parents, Noam and Aviva, were scheduled to mark Gilad's 1,700th day in captivity with a rally on Saturday in front of their protest tent near the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.

Last month, The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper quoted a Hamas official as saying that German mediator Gerhard Konrad, who visited the Gaza Strip a few weeks prior, raised a number of “new ideas to advance the matter.”

The official, who was not identified by name, told the paper that Hamas is waiting for Israel’s response to the new ideas.

He added that Hamas has not changed its demand for the release of all prisoners whose names appeared on a list that was delivered to Israel last year. The list consists of some 1,000 prisoners.

“Signing an agreement will be possible only when Israel displays serious intentions and sincerity,” the Hamas official said.

In June, Israel made clear to Hamas that it would not release terrorists with “blood on their hands” back to the West Bank, but rather deport them either to Gaza or abroad, and would not release from prison a number of mega-terrorists responsible for some of the worst terrorist atrocities the country has ever known.

Tovah Lazaroff, Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon contributed to this report

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