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Israel Rejects Prisoner Swap

Israel has rejected Hamas' demands of the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit, the IDF corporal captured and held captive by Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees after a Palestinian tunnel raid into Israel in June 2006. Prime Minister Olmert was quoted as saying that the list of prisoners was "disappointing and creates expectations that we have no chance of meeting.'

In turn, it is being reported that Egypt is asking Hamas to lower its demands by 50, reducing the reported number from 650 to 600. Among the fifty are likely the most notorious captured Palestinian terrorist leaders, such as Marwan al-Barghouti. Curiously, the unnamed Egyptian source said, "Nothing is final yet. The deal is still in its first stages." Observers may note that a deal has been 'in its first stages' since the close of the Israeli-Hizballah war in Lebanon over the summer of 2006.

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