I’ll trade you 300 Hamas activists and a Barghouti for a Shalit. The bartering now going on preceding a potential prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas reminds one of teenagers trading baseball cards.
Israel has agreed in principle to release Marwan Barguti and a number of prominent Hamas leaders from prison – diplomatic sources were quoted as saying in Monday’s ‘Al-Bayan’ newspaper, based in the United Arab Emirates.
According to the report, Israel will free Barguti, Fatah’s former secretary-general in the West Bank, and the Hamas officials as part of the burgeoning exchange deal with the Islamist Hamas group in return for captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit…
Israel has given its consent, in principle, to the release of 300 Palestinian prisoners, including Hamas leaders Hassan Salame, Abdullah Barguti and Ibrahim Hamed.
The report said Israel was still on the fence on whether it is willing to release the secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Saadat – who was convicted and sentenced for his involvement in the murder of the late Minister Rehavam Ze’evi.
Which would be very interesting since it would mean that Hamas, which is leading negotiations for the Palestinian side, is attempting to liberate an Israeli prisoner who could possibly become its political nemesis during the next round of presidential elections.
Should Israel free Saadat it should be terribly embarrassing for the Olmert government and IDF, since a year or so ago they orchestrated a Jericho prison “break-in” that “liberated” (or “kidnapped” depending on your perspective) Saadat from a Palestinian prison in order to spirit him to an Israeli prison so as to ensure he would not be freed. If they free him I’ll be only too happy to republish the photos of Israel demolishing the Palestinian prison to ensure the dangerous criminal never saw the light of day.
I’m also delighted to report that Jimmy Carter has been playing an interesting intermediary role in persuading Israeli politicians to include Hamas prisoners in the exchange. This will no doubt drive some anti-Carter Jewish activists to distraction since they view the former president as an arch-enemy of the State of Israel.