Schalit deal now seems less likely, say analysts

By SHABTAI GOLD
February 23, 2007 02:16

 
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Speculation that Khaled Mashaal's visit to Cairo may lead to a prisoner exchange deal including Cpl. Gilad Schalit seems wide of the mark. Speaking recently with The Jerusalem Post, Ziad Abu Amr, who is likely to become foreign minister in the new Palestinian Authority government, said the government might have "trouble taking off" without Schalit's release. But other analysts strongly doubt whether a deal could be reached before the new government is formed and recognized. Hala Mustafa, a political analyst at the Ahram Institute in Cairo, told the Post that if Egypt, a main mediator between the Palestinian factions and with Israel, was trying to accomplish the release of one prisoner it would be easier. However, in this case, a comprehensive deal is most likely required. And such a deal, she said, would require the involvement of the Palestinian government - a government that Israel will not recognize.

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