By David Bedein

The Bulletin

Hamas’ military wing is in no rush to complete a prisoner exchange deal.

Sources in Israeli intelligence surmise that Hamas’ military wing believes that by holding an Israeli solider, their possession of Israeli Corporal Shalit provides them with personal “insurance” against assassination and a broader insurance policy against a potential Israeli invasion of Gaza.

The kidnappers are under intense pressure from Palestinian convicts’ families, clans and supporters to have “their” prisoners’ name added to the list.

Yesterday was Palestinian Prisoner Day, and it was marked by demonstrations throughout Palestinian Arab areas, with calls for the release of more than 1,400 Palestinians who have been convicted of murder or attempted murder.

On Monday, various Palestinian organizations issued statements which threatened the kidnapping of Israeli citizens and soldiers as a “proven” method of securing the release of Palestinian prisoners.

In an interview that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave to Canadian television, Olmert said that he refrained from saying how many prisoners Israel would be prepared to release in the end, but he said that it certainly would not be “1,400.”

He said that he would be prepared to make a deal that was “reasonable in Middle Eastern terms” that would involve the release of more prisoners than the governments of North America or Europe would be prepared to release in exchange for a single captive. The prime minister noted that the issue of Shalit posed as an obstacle to peace talks with the Palestinians.

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2007

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.