[At a time when Israel and the US are encouraging arms to Abbas to fight the Hamas, this news story indicates that Abbas is moving towards a cooperative relationship with the Hamas – db]
One of the three Palestinian factions holding captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in the Gaza Strip said on Saturday that it expected a solution to the crisis within days. Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid in June.
The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) said in a statement that the three groups had agreed to a proposal by Egyptian mediators, though it said a deal still depended on Israel. Israeli officials made no immediate comment.
The PRC did not give details, but said the Egyptian proposal would include the release of Palestinians held by Israel.
“The dawn of freedom to the prisoners is about to rise and we expect a solution to our prisoners in few days,” said a PRC spokesman, Abu Mujahed. “We confirm to you that there is a definite move in the issue of the captured soldier.”
The palestinian factions, holding Shalit, have demanded the release of up to 1,400 Palestinians, including minors and women, held by Israel in exchange for the Israeli soldier.
Last week, Israel’s infrastructure minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, held talks in Cairo and afterwards expressed approval of a framework deal that Egypt had put forward, but he did not give details of the deal.
Shalit’s capture prompted Israel to send troops back into the Gaza Strip almost one year after withdrawing from the territory it had occupied in the 1967 war. More than 260 Palestinians, about half of them civilians, have been killed in the subsequent Israeli raids.
Hamas-Fatah Agree on Avoiding Armed Clashes
Meanwhile, officials from the ruling Hamas movement and the rival Fatah party have agreed to work together to avoid armed clashes in the Gaza Strip Saturday.
The agreement not to deploy any armed men to avert possible clashes came at a meeting in Gaza City late Friday, sources said.
The Interior Minister in the Hamas-led Palestinian government earlier Friday warned the mainstream security services, loyal to the rival Fatah party, not to create trouble as apparently threatened.
“Information and reports, some credible, indicate that elements of the security services intend to create trouble,” Said Siam told a televised news conference in Gaza City.
“We are going to deal with all those who disturb order. Attacks on private property, institutions or ministries will not be tolerated,” he warned.
Maher Maqdad, a spokesman for the Fatah party, hit back accusing the Islamist movement of planning its own “bloody Saturday” under the cover of sedition within the security ranks.
“Preparations made by Hamas to explode the situation on Saturday in mobilising its military structure and executive force are creating auspicious conditions for a new massacre on the pretext that Fatah and the security services are planning something for Saturday,” said Maqdad.
Eight Palestinians have been killed since October 1st in clashes between Hamas’s paramilitary “executive force” controlled by the interior ministry and members of the mainstream security apparatus in the Gaza Strip.