Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Encouraging news - Hamas: Psalms sent by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to be handed to Shalit

(Ynet).Hamas members have received the Book of Psalms sent to Gilad Shalit from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and promised Egyptian negotiators that they would deliver it to the kidnapped soldier, Ynet has learned from sources involved in the negotiations on a prisoner exchange deal.

On Friday, Israel is slated to receive a videotape containing a sign of life from the captive, in exchange for the release of 20 Palestinian prisoners.

The Psalms and prayer book were handed over to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by Interior Minister Eli Yishai about two weeks ago, during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Cairo.

Mubarak gave the books to Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman and asked him to make sure that they reach the soldier.

According to the sources, the trust which led to the recent moves began building up when Hamas agreed to receive the books and deliver them to Shalit. Up to now, the Palestinian group has refused to transfer anything to the captive soldier, for fear that Israel would take advantage of the situation in order to try and locate him.

The sources involved in the negotiations added that the German mediator had received the videotape from the Egyptian intelligence representative, who got it from Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, after the latter joined a Hamas delegation from Gaza, headed by Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahahr.

According to one of the sources involved in the talks, "Further development are expected soon, but the road to completing the deal is still long and many obstacles and difficulties are expected."

Israeli officials said Wednesday evening that the tape slated to be handed over to Israel is one-minute long and shows the kidnapped soldier with his face to the camera. The video will also include proof that it was taken recently.