I have purposefully stayed away from the many stories in both the Israeli and Arab press claiming that a deal for Gilad Shalit is imminent, mostly because we've heard that song before.
But today, Ma'an reports that Israel is releasing nine Hamas leaders from prison. There are still some 23 others in prison.
Israel arrested many Hamas West Bank leaders immediately after Shalit's kidnapping, specifically to pressure Hamas to release him. more were arrested earlier this year for the same reason.
I see no reason why Israel would release Hamas leaders if there wasn't other stuff going on.
This doesn't mean that Shalit is close to being released, but it seems to indicate that things are moving.
OUR friends, the Saudis?
2 hours ago