New deal brewing for Shalit's release

Bargouti, Sa'adat and Ze'evi killers among names mentioned in possible swap.

shalit, gilad, 298 ap (photo credit: AP)
shalit, gilad, 298 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Gilad Shalit's kidnappers are demanding the release of Tanzim leader Marwan Bargouti, PFLP head Ahmad Sa'adat, the killers of former Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, and other senior terrorists with blood on their hands, the east Jerusalem daily Al-Quds reported Sunday. The demands were conveyed to Israel through a third party, according to Israel Radio. The three terrorist groups holding Shalit refused Israel's request for a recent photo of Shalit or a written message from him to be sent to his family. Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that while talks on Shalit's release have not yet borne fruit, they continue "in one form or another." Haniyeh said that a Palestinian national unity government would be formed only after parliamentary elections in January and after jailed Hamas ministers and parliament members were released from Israeli custody. Despite the ambiguity of the statements made by Hamas and other Palestinian factions, and the wide gap between their demands and those of Israel, the Palestinians' expression of willingness to negotiate may be a ray of light in the six-week-old kidnapping crisis. Over the weekend, however, Hamas again rejected requests by the Red Cross for a meeting with Gilad Shalit. A senior Hamas official, Osama al-Mazini, said the talks on Shalit were not making progress and that Hamas had rejected an Egyptian offer to transfer Shalit to Egyptian custody in exchange for guarantees for the release of Palestinian prisoners at a later date.