'Mazuz refuses to approve Hasson as chief Schalit negotiator'

Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz has refused to approve the appointment of Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson to replace special envoy Ofer Dekel as chief negotiator for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, citing concerns of a conflict of interest, Channel 2 reported Wednesday. Hasson was recommended for the post due to his close ties with the Egyptian security hierarchy. The Knesset Ethics Committee can approve Hasson as a replacement for Dekel, or at the very least recommend him for the post, but it hasn't yet been asked to discuss the issue, the TV channel said. Instead, according to the report, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to bring Hasson on to the yet-to-convene steering committee, joining Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and ministers Yossi Peled, Dan Meridor and Moshe Ya'alon. Col (res.) Lior Lotan's name has also reportedly been put forward, but a final decision has still not been made, a month after Dekel's resignation.