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Israeli cabinet meets on ceasefire talks


Source: | 02-16-2009 10:04

The Israeli Cabinet convened in Jerusalem for its weekly meeting on Sunday. Topping the agenda were direct cease-fire talks with Hamas.

Under an emerging deal mediated by Egypt, Israel would ease its border blockade of Gaza, in exchange for a halt to weapons smuggling and attacks by Gaza militants.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (L) speaks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.(AFP/Pool/Emil Salman)
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (L) speaks with
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during the weekly cabinet
meeting in Jerusalem.(AFP/Pool/Emil Salman)

In parallel, Egypt also brokered talks on a prisoner swap - hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel in exchange for Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier seized by Hamas-allied militants in 2006.

Israel insists there will be no cease-fire deal without Schalit's release.

Meir Sheetrit, Israeli Interior Minister, said, "This time we have to bring back Gilad home, I think it's inconceivable to believe that we can leave him there for more time. This is an opportunity that while we are discussing the cease-fire with Hamas and opening of the passages, it must be one of the conditions to open those passages and one of the conditions for cease-fire."

A Hamas official on Sunday rejected any attempt to link Schalit's release with the cease-fire talks.

Mushir Al-Masril, Hamas Legislator, said, "Our position in the Hamas movement and the resistance is clear: we condemn any attempt by the Zionist enemy to link the Schalit issue. This attempt will sabotage the effort to achieve a truce and will hinder the Egyptian effort."

Hamas has said Schalit will be freed only in return for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei