May 8, 2011
Egypt pushing Hamas to soften stance on Shalit deal
Report: Hamas agrees in principle to new proposal; Hamas expected to compromise in order to gain popularity ahead of Palestinian elections.
Hamas has agreed in principle to a new proposal aimed at securing the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Al Jazeera television reported on its website Sunday. The report said the plan was forumated by Egypt.
Egyptian sources told Haaretz Sunday that although Egypt has renewed efforts to promote a deal for Shalit’s release, no actual negotiations have begun. Egypt is trying to exert pressure on Hamas to soften its stance so that a deal can be concluded, which would include the release of Palestinian prisoners.
The Egyptians are aware that if there are Palestinian elections, Hamas would need to present accomplishments to the Palestinian public.
Palestinian sources said Egypt has been working hard to advance a deal to free Shalit, who has been in Hamas captivity since June 2006, since Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement last week, according to the report. “Reliable” sources quoted in the report said the Egyptians intend to present their plan to an envoy who is due to arrive in Cairo shortly.
Read more at Haaretz.com.