Suleiman in Israel for Talks

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CBNNews.com - TEL AVIV, Israel - Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman arrived in Israel Monday morning to present the cease-fire plan he brokered with Hamas and 12 smaller Palestinian terror groups.

Suleiman began his visit with a breakfast meeting at Defense Minister Ehud Barak's Tel Aviv residence, followed by talks with Major General Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Military Bureau.

Last week, the Defense Ministry received a draft of the proposal that includes a six-month cease-fire during which Hamas would call a temporary halt to terror attacks in exchange for Israel ceasing its counter-terrorism operations in the Gaza Strip.

Barak said the release of captured Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Corporal Gilad Shalit would have to be factored into any truce arrangement.

Shalit was captured in June 25, 2006, during a cross-border attack at an IDF outpost near the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip. Two soldiers were killed, two were wounded and Shalit was kidnapped.

Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, told Army Radio that he doesn't think Israel will agree to a cease-fire with Hamas that doesn't include his son's release.

The defense minister also said the IDF must continue operating in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

"Israel must maintain its ability to operate in Judea and Samaria in a way that will guarantee its citizens' safety," Barak said.

Later Monday, Suleiman met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai, who wants to meet with Hamas leaders to discuss terms for the release of captured Israel Defense Forces Corporal Gilad Shalit.

Olmert said Israel will not endorse Suleiman's draft if it doesn't address weapons smuggling from Egypt into Gaza and Shalit's release.

The agreement includes a plan to reopen the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egyptian Sinai, with European monitors assisting the PA's Force 17 Presidential Guard.

The Egyptians said the arrangement would allow PA forces to return to Gaza for the first time since Hamas wrested control in a bloody military coup last June.

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