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Monday, October 17, 2011

Report: Grapel deal imminent, no word on Tarabin

Israel Hayom quotes Israel Radio as confirming the Al Hayat story I noted yesterday that Ilan Grapel might be released in a swap as early as this week:
Ilan Grapel, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen arrested in Egypt in June on espionage charges, is expected to be released from Egyptian custody just days after Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, who has been held in Gaza for more than five years, returns home, Israeli officials confirmed on Monday, according to Israel Radio.

The confirmation follows a report in the Egyptian state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, which said Israel has agreed to release 81 Egyptian citizens currently held in Israeli prisons in exchange for Grapel's freedom.

"All reports suggest that the Shalit deal will not be the only one concluded between Arabs and Israel in the coming days," Al-Ahram reported. The Shalit deal, the article said, will "soon be followed by another deal, between Egypt and Israel, in which the spy Ilan Grapel ... will be released in return for all Egyptians held in Israeli prisons."

Egypt has been bolstered in recent weeks, setting the stage for Grapel's release, thanks to its successful mediation in the Shalit deal, which will see 1,027 Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails in exchange for the hostage Israel Defense Forces soldier. Israel also issued a formal apology for the deaths of six Egyptian soldiers who were killed during the pursuit of terrorists following a multi-pronged terror attack in southern Israel in August. According to Egyptian reports, negotiations between Israel and Egypt over Grapel's release are currently in their final stages.
Still no information about Israeli Bedouin Ouda Tarabin, also held in Egyptian prison. Likud MK Ayoob Kara has been pressing to include Tarabin in any Grapel deal.

Speaking at a special press conference with the Tarabin family, Kara said: “I am ashamed that an Israeli Bedouin citizen does not get the same treatment as the one received by Ilan Grapel.”

He added, “I’ve approached the U.S. Ambassador in Israel as well as the Prime Minister and demanded that any deal to free Grapel also include Inside Ouda Tarabin. I do not accept any excuse on this matter because once we release security prisoners held in Israel for Grapel, there will be no chance to release Ouda, because no one knows who will assume power in Egypt and there’s no guarantee he’ll released in December 2015 when he finishes serving his prison sentence.”

Suleiman Tarabin, Ouda’s father, also spoke at Monday’s press conference with Kara and said: “I call on the Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and the American government to act to release my son from the Egyptian prison.”

“I do not understand why when we go to the doctor we are treated as any Jew is treated, but when it comes to detainees in Egypt, the Bedouin do not get the same treatment received by a Jew,” added Tarabin. “The Shalit family has not slept more for more than 2,000 days, and my family and I have not slept for more than a decade. For more than ten years we have not celebrated any holidays. My son refuses to get married before his brother is released. I am pleading with anyone who has influence to do anything possible to have my son see the light of day.”
More on Tarabin here.

It is a shame that Tarabin has not been getting the coverage that Grapel has been receiving - from the right or from the left.