'Hamas delegation is in Cairo to discuss Schalit'

Zahar discusses Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, Schalit; Abbas tells Egyptian diplomat Egypt is "backbone of Palestinian aspirations."

April 26, 2011 13:49
1 minute read.
Captured soldier Gilad Schalit in video

Gilad Schalit in video 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)


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A Hamas delegation traveled to Cairo on Tuesday in order to discuss the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Israel Radio reported.

A Palestnian source told Israel Radio that the possible reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah will be the main topic of discussion at the meeting, but Schalit is also on the agenda.

PM appoints new Schalit mediator for Gilad's release
Haniyeh urges Palestinians to back Schalit swap deal

The delegation reportedly includes one of Hamas's leaders, Mahmoud Zahar, as well as two members of the negotiating team for Schalit, Halil el Haya and Nizar Awdallah.

At the same time that the Hamas delegation was meeting with officials in Cairo, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sat down with an Egyptian diplomat in Ramallah.

In the meeting with Egyptian Ambassador to the PA Yasser Othman, Abbas said, "Egypt is the backbone of our people's aspirations toward having an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital," official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA reported.

On the meeting's agenda was reconciliation between Abbas' Fatah and Hamas rulers in the Gaza Strip..

Despite the Hamas talks in Cairo, the Prime Minister's Office last week announced that Hamas has not responded to Israel's most recent offer for a prisoner exchange deal to free Schalit in over a year.

The statement came in response to scathing criticism from the soldier's grandfather in a letter publicized earlier in the day. The PMO said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in constant contact with captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit's family, and feels their pain.

Zvi Schalit had charged that every time the media discusses Gilad, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu invites the soldier's parents, Noam and Aviva Schalit, to a meeting that does not yield any results. In his letter, he also accused Netanyahu of cruel cynicism.

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