A Hamas delegation left Cairo yesterday for Damascus, where they will brief senior Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on negotiations held in Cairo last week regarding a prisoner exchange with Israel.
While there was news that a deal would be reached in the coming few hours, Egypt, Israel and Hamas declined to confirm it. "I’m not sure if a deal would be reached," said Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. However, Israeli Trade and Industry Minister Benjamin bin Aliazer said, "We are close to concluding the deal."
Earlier reports said that Israel would release up to 1000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas since 2006. Israel currently holds over 7000 Palestinians in prison, according to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.
A high-ranking Egyptian official said the deal was complicated and should take time, adding that which Palestinian prisoners will be released has not yet been decided.
Meanwhile, the Administrative Court declined two lawsuits requesting that the Rafah border crossing with the beseiged Gaza strip be opened for the transfer of food and medical supplies. The court said that the case fell outside of its jurisdiction. The Egyptian government did open the crossing on Tuesday to allow 2000 Palestinian pilgrims to go to Saudi Arabia.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.