aboul gheit 248 88.
(photo credit: AP)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit blasted Israel on Wednesday, saying that while most of the issues regarding a prisoner exchange with Hamas have been resolved, Israeli insistence that some of the inmates be expelled from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip was "something which is neither ethical nor humane," the London-based newspaper, Al-Hayat reported.
"A number of prisoners which Israel will release have already been agreed upon, and in fact the stages of their release have been concluded," he told the paper. "In addition, a number of other arrangements have been concluded."
"Talks between Egypt and Israel on this subject [require] Israel to change its conditions and accept Egyptian logic," the foreign minister continued. "We are able to guarantee that those who are released will not harm the security of Israel following their release. We have taken it upon ourselves, but the Israelis are insisting that they be expelled, and this is unacceptable."
Negotiations between Hamas and Israel, under Egyptian mediation, deadlocked in March, when it seemed a breakthrough which would coincide with the end of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's term was imminent. Only one week ago did efforts resume in earnest, with Hadas Hagai, the new Israeli envoy dealing with the case meeting with Egyptian officials on the matter.
In his interview with the paper, Gheit also responded to a question about mounting international pressure over continued Israeli settlement construction.
"President [Barack] Obama, Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton, George Mitchell, and the national security advisor - they all say that very soon, the US intends to present a Palestinian-Israeli arrangement that will be based on reciprocal steps between the Israelis and the Palestinians on the one hand, and between Israel and Arab states on the other, and [which will end with] the establishment of an independent Palestinian state."
"Therefore," he went on, "the American administration, when it starts the process, it begets certain tensions in connection with Israel."