Hamas 'considering' Israel swap

Group to hold talks with top leaders in Syria on Israeli prisoner exchange proposal.

    Shalit was seized in a cross-border raid by Palestinian fighters in 2006 [AFP]

    Earlier this week Israel's seven-member security cabinet held a series of intensive meetings to discuss the issue.

    in depth

      Why a prisoner swap is key to peace
      Talk Al Jazeera: Ismail Haniya
      Blog: Close, but no cigar by Ayman Mohyeldin

    On Wednesday Eli Yishai, the Israeli security minister, reiterated his misgivings over a prisoner amnesty that could boost Hamas.

    "We always say 'not at any price' because otherwise our enemies would exploit it. But on the other hand, we have to make every possible effort," Yishai told Israel's Army Radio.

    "Where is the middle ground? I think any further (public) words about this would be excessive."

    Speaking to Reuters Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said the group had received Israel's proposal and "will study the response".

    Another unnamed Hamas official said the group planned to send a delegation from Gaza Damascus by Thursday to meet exiled Hamas leaders for a "broader discussion" on any possible prisoner exchange.

    Under the proposed swap about 1,000 of the some 11,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons would be released.

    However, Reuters quoted officials familiar with the negotiations as saying Israel had ruled out releasing a handful of senior Hamas fighters serving life sentences for orchestrating lethal attacks against Israelis.

    Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is also thought to be was also intent on barring between 100 and 120 other Palestinians from returning to the West Bank, saying they should be sent instead to Gaza or into exile abroad.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.