Thursday, November 19, 2009

Arab Media: Netanyahu Approves Shalit Deal

(JewPI).An Arab newspaper has reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas terrorists that would eventually result in the return of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

According to the report published Thursday in Al Manar, the prime minister agreed to carry out the first stage of the deal, in which Shalit will be transferred to Egypt.

The newspaper, which is distributed in Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, said the prime minister's approval for the deal came during a three-way meeting held recently between Israel's chief negotiator, Haggai Hadas, and the German mediator who has been working on the case.

David Baker, spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, was tight-lipped when Israel National News asked about the deal, however. "We have no reaction to that report," he said firmly, and refused further comment.

The Arabic-language Alhurra network in the United States also reported Wednesday that a deal was imminent, possibly to be concluded as soon as Friday, November 27, the eve of the Muslim feast of the sacrifice of Ishmael, Id al-Adha.

The unconfirmed report said "hundreds of prisoners" from Israeli jails would be freed in exchange for the Israeli soldier in the first stage of the deal, which would bring Shalit to Egypt. In the second stage, Shalit would be transferred to Israel.