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July 27, 2006

Breaking: Abbas Says Gilad Release Could Be 'Imminent'

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Update below.

Breaking - CNN just announced that the AP is reporting PA President Abbas has said in Rome that negotiations are leading toward a solution that would result in a release of Corporal Gilead Shalit, that discussions are intensified and likely "imminent" (CNN's take - not mine). I take this with a huge grain of salt!!!

This news follows reports of the circulation of rumours of a truce in Gaza, and that Corporal Gilead Shalit would soon be released.

The Guardian reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has obtained the agreement of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to stop firing Qassams and to free Shalit in return for a cessation of Israel's operations in Gaza and the release at some future date of Palestinian prisoners. It's the Egyptian deal that was on offer all along, tweaked to make it palatable for all concerned. Already the Qassams have dropped in frequency and the Israeli army has drawn back to its own side of the border, although the fire still continues from both sides.
More coming...

This would be a very positive step toward the solution of the present crisis, at least as it relates to Gaza and the PA. However, in spite of CNN's initial optimism, I suspect we may be seeing a little PA double-speak and that what is really meant is that the Palestinians are "talking" to the Israelis and that they are working "toward" a solution that "could" result in the release of Corporal Gilead Shalit. My own take is that Abbas was simply answering a question put to him concerning Shalit's release, and that Abbas actually said that efforts are underway, and at the very least - efforts are moving forward - in other words, a solution is "possible".

Update: Hamas just announced that a solution is "not" imminent"

What this CNN report really tells us is that Abbas is not in control, Hamas is calling the shots.

Posted by Richard at July 27, 2006 11:23 AM

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