Sunday, June 28, 2009

Possible Progress on Shalit

Both the Israeli government and Hamas deny allegations that prisoner-of-war Gilad Shalit will be moved to Egypt as part of negotiations over his release. The news was originally reported on June 23 by the Palestinian Ma'an news agency quoting Egyptian sources. Haaretz later ran the story, quoting European diplomatic sources. Under the deal, Shalit would be transferred to Egyptian custody while an agreement is solidified regarding the release of Palestinian prisoners. The London-based Asharq al-Awsat paper also ran the story quoting Arab sources. While the original report is no longer on the Asharq al-Awsat website, details of the report were widely published in the Western Media and by Haaretz. The report alleged that in return for Shalit's transferral, Israel would release 400 Palestinian prisoners. Then Shalit's parents would be permitted to see him in Egypt. Then, Israel would release more prisoners. The total number expected to be released by Israel is about 1,100.

This story is likely based in truth. It has been run by three independent sources all quoting different individuals whose nationality is identified in all cases. It is also a highly detailed claim, while most fabricated stories are general. It is in both Israel and Hamas' interest to keep the story under wraps in order to continue negotiations without the added influence of public pressure. It looks good for Israel that progress is being made, but if Hamas feels to threatened, it could easily change its mind. Therefore, comments contrary to the reports that are being made by Israel and Hamas are explainable. While a chance remains that all three sources are unreliable, the evidence seems to point towards this claim having a basis in reality.

1) Barak Ravid, Akiva Eldar, "Israel, Egypt Negotiate Terms of New Gaza Truce,"
Haaretz, June 28, 2009.

2) Akiva Eldar, Barak Ravid, Avi Issacharoff, "Hamas: No Truth in Media Storm Over Shalit Deal,"
Haaretz, June 28, 2009.

3) "Barak: Reports of Imminent Shalit Release Unfounded,"
Ma'an News Agency, June 28, 2009.

4) Akiva Eldar, Avi Issachoroff, "Shalit Transfer to Egypt is Imminent,"
Haaretz, June 26, 2009.

5) "Israel Denies Shalit Will Move to Egypt,"
UPI, June 23, 2009.

6) "Arab Sources Also Say Gilad Shalit Will be Moved to Egypt Soon,"
San Francisco Sentinel, June 27, 2009.

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