Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Inside Israel's Secret Talks with Hamas - TIME

Having secured the release of kidnapped BBC correspondent Alan Johnston on July 4th, Hamas officials are now moving discreetly to negotiate freedom for another Gaza hostage — Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit, seized in June 2006 in a raid by Palestinian militants who had tunneled under the Israeli security wall around Gaza, is currently being held by kidnappers who include members of Hamas' own military wing, as well another radical group, the Popular Resistance Committees.

An investigation by TIME reveals a marked contrast in how the Israelis and Hamas view their complicated on-again, off-again negotiations over Shalit's release. The disconnect arises partially out of Israel's refusal to deal directly with Hamas, which they consider a terrorist organization. While some informed Israelis say they are 'optimistic' that Shalit will be free 'within weeks,' Hamas officials are far more cautious — one offered the glum assessment that bargaining could drag on for another year." (more)

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