RAMALLAH, April 11 (JMCC) - Years of German mediation between Hamas and Israel over a prisoner swap that would free captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, believed to be held in the Gaza Strip, may be coming to an end.
Recent disparaging remarks by Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk about the role of the German mediator have dashed hopes that Shalit would be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, reports
few days ago, hardliners within Hamas rejected the BND's [German
intelligence's] most recent offer. Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy head of the
Hamas leadership in exile, publicly accused Gerhard C. of siding with
Netanyahu and adopting his view. For this reason, Marzook said, Hamas
would no longer accept him as an intermediary. It would seem that the
intermediary from Berlin may have failed, at least for the time being.
It is a serious setback -- for Shalit, for the region and, not least,
for the BND, whose strong reputation in the Middle East is partly based
on its successful mediation between the sworn enemies.
In December 2009, talks ended briefly when Benjamin Netanyahu's government turned down a deal that would have released 1,000 Palestinians in exchange for Shalit.
Discussions renewed again in late 2010, resulting in the most recent statements by Hamas.