Israel silent on proposed prisoner swap

Israeli radio has reported that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman departed Israel Sunday without receiving a final reply to a proposed prisoner-swap deal whereby Israel would release a set number of Palestinian prisoners in return for the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian resistance group Hamas in 2006.

While in Israel, Suleiman met with leading Israeli officials, including PM Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Mossad Chief Meir Dagan.

Meanwhile, the Israeli press also reported that government ministers had met to discuss ways of finding a final solution to the Shalit file.

In a related development, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement issued Monday noted that "any attempts by foreign or local groups to violate Egyptian law and public order will be dealt with in accordance with Egyptian rules and regulations," referring to the planned "Gaza Freedom March," slated to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Israel’s assault on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip at the end of December.

According to American peace activist and march organizer Ann Wright, negotiations with the Egyptian government to allow the march to proceed are still ongoing.

Translated from the Arabic Edition. 

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