30 mothers hold Schalit rally at Erez

Group planning similar demos at main junctions; Israel reportedly agrees to free 450 prisoners.

gilad schalit 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
gilad schalit 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Some 30 mothers held a rally at the Erez border crossing on Friday, calling for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. After arriving there in a convoy, the mothers held up signs which read: "Mothers for Gilad Schalit," and "Let Gilad Schalit's sun shine." The rally was organized by Maddy Cohen and Yiraela Shidlov from Kidron, near Gadera. A yellow ribbon hung from each car in the convoy, which drove from Kidron to the crossing, and the group planned to organize similar rallies at main junctions across the country until the captive's release. On Thursday, Ofer Dekel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's emissary on the prisoner swap issue, traveled to Egypt for intensive talks on Schalit's release and, according to Al-Hayat, he gave Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman a list of 450 Palestinian prisoners that Israel is not opposed to freeing in the first stage of a swap deal with Hamas. The London-based newspaper quoted Egyptian sources as saying that a Hamas delegation was expected to head to Cairo next week to discuss the names on the list, followed by Dekel's return to Egypt. The sources went on to say that among the prisoners Hamas was demanding in the first stage were PFLP chief Ahmed Sadat, Tanzim leader Marwan Baghouti, Amana Muna - a female Fatah operative who lured 16-year-old Ophir Rahum via Internet chats to a cruel death on January 17, 2001 - and two members of Hamas's armed wing Izzadin Kassam. Meanwhile, the London-based A-Sharq al-Awasat newspaper said that Israel had offered to release prisoners who took part in large terror attacks to Gaza, but not to the West Bank. If Hamas agrees to the offer, said the newspaper, Israel will release the prisoners Hamas is demanding, including Abbas Said, the mastermind of the 2002 Pessah eve bombing of Netanya's Park Hotel. However, the paper said that Hamas was opposed to the offer, since the group refused to agree to "the deportation" of prisoners.