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Is a Shalit Deal Close?

The Jerusalem Post reports that London's al-Hayat is running a story that there is a deal in the works for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, involving a prisoner swap for Shalit and a Palestinian agreement to halt rocket attacks.

Reportedly, the soldier would be returned to Israel, via Egyptian or French mediators, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

Additionally, in exchange for the IDF halting its operations in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian organizations would apparently agree to stop rocket attacks on Israel.

First, can any Palestinian signatories actually prevent rocket attacks? It was made clear in the past week that the Hamas-run PA could be effectively circumvented by direction from the Damascus-based Hamas headquarters.

Second, would the exchange of prisoners for Shalit, as welcome as his return would surely be, not simply encourage yet more kidnappings in exchange for favorable negotiations?

Consider that Vital Perspective reported that Shalit was not the first attempt by the PRC to abduct an Israeli soldier for this purpose.

On June 11, two PRC terrorists, Ibrahim Jamal Mahmad Magdoub, 22, of Gaza and Mahmad Ali Omar Atzar, 20, also of Gaza, were arrested as they attemped to infiltrate Israel via the Israeli - Egyptian border in the Negev. They were acting under the instructions of Jamal Abu Samhadana, who was killed by Israeli forces on June 9, to shoot civilians and kidnap an IDF soldier in order to negotiate for the release of terrorists in Israeli prisons.

During questioning by police, Magdoub said that he infiltrated Israel in order to transport Atzar to a location where he would shoot civilians while he would kidnap an IDF soldier. The negotiation for the release of the soldier was to be led by the PRC leadership, headed by Samhadana.

What might Hamas and the Hamas-dominated PRC want with freed terrorists?

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For Arabic readers, the article in Al-Hayat cited is here: Sources in Gaza: The Palestinians Discuss Deal to Surrender Shalit to Egypt or France in Exchange for a Ceasefire, Ending the Aggressional and Guarantee of Release of Prisoners.

There are a list of demands as described in the second paragraph, and they include lifting the blockade of Gaza, which would allow for funding of the PA. It says that in a conversation between Abbas and Rice, Abbas sought a guarantee from the U.S. that funds held by the Arab League could be dispursed freely in Gaza. Rice reportedly agreed that some of it could be.