Suleiman in Israel this week to conclude Shalit deal

Daily News Egypt
2 Min Read

CAIRO: Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman is due in Israel later this week in an attempt to conclude a prisoner-swap deal as a second phase of an Egyptian-mediated truce. According to the deal, Israel will exchange its captive soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured during a raid on his military camp near Gaza in 2006, for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Hamas and Egyptian officials have affirmed the existence of positive signals regarding an exchange deal. Palestinian sources in Gaza revealed that intensive Egyptian efforts are also being exerted in order to preserve the ongoing cease fire between Hamas and Israel. Backed by the US, Egypt managed to reach a truce between Israel and Hamas, whereby the Jewish state will refrain from attacking Gaza in return for stopping rocket fire into southern Israel. Jerusalem denies such an agreement was reached, and maintains it will not negotiate with Hamas. Suleiman was also expected to discuss the reopening of the Rafah terminal, the only Gaza gateway to the outside world, as a third phase of the cease-fire deal. The terminal, which was controlled by Palestinian Authority police until last June, will reopen according to the 2005 agreement. Egypt also managed to convince the PA and Hamas regarding the deployment of the PA presidential guard at the terminal in order for EU observers, who monitor the terminal, to return back to work. Hamas said yesterday it was waiting for a response from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas regarding the deployment of his forces at the terminal. Hamas is also awaiting the response of the Israeli government through the Egyptian mediation on the prisoner deal, Hamas spokesman in Gaza Fawazi Barhoum said.

Share This Article
Leave a comment