'Israel rejects Nasrallah's offer to mediate'

Hizbullah chief offered to replace Egypt in negotiations over Gilad Schalit, Channel 2 reports.

Gilad Schalit 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gilad Schalit 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel has turned down an offer by Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to take Egypt's place as mediator between Israel and Hamas for the release of captive soldier Gilad Schalit, Channel 2 reported Friday evening. According to the report, Nasrallah's offer - which came only two days after Israel released convicted murderer Samir Kuntar and four Hizbullah operatives in exchange for the bodies of IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, and a day after the two were finally laid to rest - was made to German envoy Gerhard Konrad. Israel reportedly declined Nasrallah's overtures out of a desire not to raise Nasrallah's status in the Arab world. The Hizbullah chief garnered intense media attention Wednesday, promising to address Israel and the West during the celebrations planned to mark Kuntar's release. He did make a brief public appearance, his first since January, and appeared ill at ease. Meanwhile, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported that Hamas was making efforts to have Egypt replaced as mediator. Ma'an said that Hamas wanted to conclude a prisoner exchange deal as soon as possible, and was "disappointed" by Egypt's handling of the negotiations.