The Hamas terrorist organization has reportedly rejected another proposed prisoner swap deal by Israel for the release of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.
According to the Arabic Al-Hayat daily newspaper, Hamas turned down Israel's offer to free hundreds of Palestinian Authority terrorists, many of whom had "blood on their hands", in exchange for the captive soldier.
Government envoy Ofer Dekel, who is in charge of soldiers who are missing in action, presented the terrorist group with a list of 450 PA prisoners Israel was willing to include in a deal.
Israel also proposed adding several other new elements in the deal, including a specific timeline for the negotiations and establishing Hamas as the sole responsible party for the kidnapped soldier. In addition, Israel has demanded a diplomatic binder which would force Hamas to continue talks even if Israel is attacked and responds.
Hamas, meanwhile, has demanded that Israel release 1,000 terrorists. Among them is Fatah Tanzim arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, sentenced to five consecutive sentences of life in prison for murdering Israeli civilians, Jews and a Christian monk, in terrorist attacks during the Oslo War.
A second "star terrorist" on the Hamas list is Ahmad Sadat, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group, who was suspected of involvement in the murder of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001.
A senior Hamas official was quoted by the paper as saying that the group had patience. "Shalit has begun his third year in prison and could also begin a fourth," said the unnamed terrorist.
Egypt is exerting considerably more pressure than it has in previous negotiations, however. Egyptian officials have been holding talks with Hamas representatives since the Gaza ceasefire began a little more than a week ago.
According to Egyptian sources, there is intense pressure on the Egyptian mediators to gain Shalit's release; "Cairo's prestige is now at stake, and this is palpable," said the source quoted by Al Hayat. "They are exhibiting a newfound commitment to progressing in the negotiations," he said.