'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 18:45
2 minute read.
Captured soldier Gilad Schalit in video

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


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


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, which will be headed by Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, is scheduled to meet with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby and members of the ruling military council.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar arrived in Cairo earlier this week for what was described as a “private visit” to relatives.

This was Zahar’s second visit to Cairo since former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down in February.

Hamas and Egyptian leaders have expressed a desire in improving their relations in the post-Mubarak era.

The Egyptians have signaled their willingness to reopen the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

In a goodwill gesture to Hamas, the Egyptian authorities have in recent weeks released scores of Palestinians who were held in Egyptian prisons because of their activities on behalf of the movement.

The Egyptians have also promised to look into Hamas’s request to open a representative office that would function as an unofficial embassy in Cairo.

Osama Hamdan, Hamas’s “foreign minister,” said on Tuesday that his movement was keen on improving its relationship with the new government in Egypt.

“Our contacts with Egypt are continuing,” he said. “We are discussing various issues related to the situation in the Palestinian arena and the reopening of the Rafah border crossing.”

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.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A member of the Taliban holds a flag in Kabul, Afghanistan
May 26, 2019
'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh freed, Trump tried to stop it