Palestinian sources say there is reason to believe that significant progress has been made in talks on a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.
Sources told the paper that both sides have presented serious proposals and that Hamas has shown newfound flexibility on the issue of relocating West Bank Hamas members to Gaza.
As part of a prisoner exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit, Israel is demanding that Hamas agree to absorb prisoners into Gaza rather than allowing them to return to their homes in the West Bank.
Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman on Monday told Yossi Beilin, the former justice minister and architect of the non-government Geneva peace initiative, that he has yet to meet with Israel's newly named point man to the Shalit prisoner talks, Hagai Hadas.
Suleiman said that if the Palestinian factions fail to reach agreement on forming the panel by July 7, he will end his mediation of inter-factional talks.
Beilin's trip comes one day after Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with senior officials on the latest developments in the Shalit talks.
According to information recently received in Israel, Egypt would like to see negotiations for the release of Shalit resume from the point at which they left off during the final days of the Olmert government.
However, the Egyptians have also asked Israel to abandon its plan to exile some of the Palestinian prisoners that will be released in exchange for Shalit's freedom. link
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