‘No deal to free Shalit’


ON THE eve of Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ehud Olmert’s sum­mit meet­ing with Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh, Mr Olmert’s spokesper­son said the two men would not be an­nounc­ing a deal for the re­lease of kid­napped IDF cor­po­ral Gi­lad Shalit.

Mr Olmert was sched­uled to meet Pres­i­dent Mubarak yes­ter­day to dis­cuss ways of mov­ing the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian peace process for­ward. Pales­tinian Author­ity chair­man Mah­moud Ab­bas has asked Is­rael to re­lease Pales­tinian pris­on­ers, but Mr Olmert has in­sisted that there will be no pris­oner re­lease un­til Ha­mas frees Cor­po­ral Shalit, who was kid­napped over six months ago.

Egyp­tian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman has been try­ing bro­ker a deal be­tween Is­rael and Ha­mas. He re­port­edly reached agree­ment with Ha­mas po­lit­i­cal leader Khaled Mashaal last week on how many pris­on­ers Is­rael would re­lease, but Is­raeli of­fi­cials have de­nied that a deal has been done.

Plot to kill Aussie ty­coon

MIL­LION­AIRE busi­ness­man Isi Leibler dis­cov­ered this week that he had been one of the tar­gets of a Pales­tinian ter­ror­ist plot. Mr Leibler, who be­fore em­i­grat­ing to Is­rael eight years ago was a se­nior fig­ure in the Aus­tralian Jewish com­mu­nity, dis­cov­ered he was on a 1975 ter­ror­ist hit list. Among oth­ers tar­geted were politi­cian (later Prime Min­is­ter) Bob Hawke, Is­raeli am­bas­sador Michael El­izur and jour­nal­ist Sam Lip­ski. Mr Leibler learned of the plan when Aus­tralian cabi­net doc­u­ments were re­leased. He told the Jerusalem Post that he planned to write to the Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties to ask for an ex­pla­na­tion as to why he was not told about the intelligence at the time.

Beck­ett Sderot sym­pa­thy

FOR­EIGN SEC­RE­TARY Marga- ret Beck­ett tele­phoned her Is­raeli coun­ter­part, Tzipi Livni, on Tues­day to ask af­ter the health of the two teenagers from Sderot who were se­ri­ously in­jured by a Kas­sam rocket last week. The boys are re­cov­er­ing from their wounds. The two for­eign min­is­ters also dis­cussed the gen­eral Mid­dle East sit­u­a­tion and the con­ver­sa­tion fo­cused on Iran. Ms Livni hosted a del­e­ga­tion of se­nior Board of Deputies mem­bers in her of­fice on Tues­day.

IDF chief ‘will not quit’

IDF CHIEF of Gen­eral Staff Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Dan Ha­lutz has no in­ten­tions of re­sign­ing, de­spite the short­com­ings in the IDF’s per­for­mance dur­ing this sum­mer’s Le­banon war. Gen­eral Ha­lutz told a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day that the war had harmed Is­rael’s de­ter­rence pos­ture, but that it was his job to lead the army’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process. He said he would re­sign only if asked to by his su­pe­ri­ors or if de­manded by the find­ings of Wino­grad Com­mit­tee, which is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the war’s han­dling.

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