Thursday, August 18, 2011

Egypt's brokered talks for Shalit's release postponed

The glint of hope for IDF soldier Gilad Schalit's release may blink out again. Captured behind enemy lines back in June 2005, he has remained a top bargaining chip for the exchange of Palestinian captives 'til this day. A third round of indirect talks between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt, ceased with no semblance of a deal being reached for his release and no date set for resuming negotiations.

Hamas apparently has no intention of relenting on its demand that between 500 to 1,000 imprisoned Palestinians, many of whom are considered to be political leaders, be set free. The listed prisoners are made up of many known names responsible for terror attacks against Eretz Yisrael.

In a recent statement made to the Israeli press, senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said Israel showed significant flexibility in its stance regarding the prisoner exchange deal. Israel takes more of a chance by considering the release of proven threats to the security of its people than Hamas would in releasing Schalit, yet they will not move forward unless all prisoners held by Israel are returned.

Unless Hamas, like the state of Israel, can revise its stance on the terms of the deal, will Schalit ever know freedom again? Once more, it remains to be seen and we know not when.

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