RAMALLAH, Jan. 11 (JMCC) - Hamas will deliver its position to Israel concerning a possible prisoner's swap in a matter of days, leader Khaled Meshaal told reporters in Doha Sunday.
The position, conveyed through a German mediator, will be the latest in the back-and-forth aimed at trading prisoners in Israeli jails for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, believed to be held in the Gaza Strip. Shalit was captured in a raid by armed Palestinians in 2006.
As many as 10,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails. Hamas seeks the release of hundreds of prisoners in exchange for Shalit.
Israel is reportedly insisting that over 100 of the prisoners released - those held for the most serious crimes - be released to foreign countries. Hamas has acquiesced in principle, but only if the prisoners themselves agree and are able to choose the countries to which they are released.
Hamas is sticking to its demands, not because they are factional demands, Meshaal said, but because they are national demands.
Observers are increasingly pessimistic that a prisoner's swap is in the offing.