CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Talk of a breakthrough in negotiations for the release of captured Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Cpl. Gilad Shalit are nothing more than Arab media spin, the Prime Minister's Office said.
Israel approved the release of 325 prisoners demanded by Hamas, but rejected an estimated 125 names. Hamas has yet to submit an alternate list of names.
This past week, the government authorized the prison authority to allow meetings between high-level terror prisoners, which may have included Marwan Barghouti, former head of Fatah's Tanzim militia, serving five consecutive life terms for murder, to formulate a new list.
According to YNet news, Israel hopes a list developed by the prisoners themselves will influence Hamas leaders in Gaza and Damascus to complete an alternate list.
"We have been informed by the Egyptian mediator that the negotiations will be resumed only after Hamas submits the new list for Israel's approval," the Prime Minister's Office said.
While outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hoped to accomplish a prisoner swap before he leaves office, it is highly unlikely.
Palestinian terrorists kidnapped Shalit on June 25, 2006 in a cross-border attack on an IDF outpost near the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip.
Two soldiers were killed in the attack and three others wounded. Hamas has not allowed the International Red Cross or anyone else to visit Shalit in the more than 1,000 days that he has been imprisoned.
Source: YNet news