Dekel heads to Egypt for Schalit talks

Channel 10: Most ministers agree to freeing senior Hamas operatives with "blood on their hands."

Gilad Schalit 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gilad Schalit 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ofer Dekel, the Prime Minister's Office representative on the kidnapped soldiers' issue, headed to Egypt Thursday night to discuss with Egyptian mediators a possible prisoner swap with Hamas to secure the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. Channel 10 reported that Israel was expected to be more flexible regarding which prisoners to exchange for Schalit. The television channel quoted Prime Minister's Office officials as saying that most cabinet ministers agreed to lowering the criteria and were willing to free a larger number of senior operatives with "blood on their hands" but less younger prisoners who were more prone to return to terrorist activity. Chanel 10 quoted Dekel as saying that changing the criteria "will accelerate a deal." Meanwhile, Hamas was reportedly insisting that Israel free more prisoners overall but less of the senior inmates. The television channel also said that the group was demanding that Marwan Barghouti be included in the deal but that Israel was undecided regarding releasing the Tanzim leader. Although Barghouti belongs to Fatah, Hamas's bitter rivals, the group may be demanding his release in order to increase its popularity among Palestinians and show that it was more capable than Fatah of securing the release of Palestinian prisoners, a Channel 10 analyst said.