Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gilad Shalit deal

Reuters reported that the mediator’s name was barred from publication but the German-language paper Tagesspiegel reported that it was Gerhard Conrad, one of the foremost Arab experts in Germany’s intelligence service – known as the BND. Since early summer, the paper reported, Mr. Conrad has been shuttling between Jerusalem, Gaza, and Cairo in an attempt to engineer a prisoner exchange deal that would return Sgt. Shalit to Israel, where he has become a cause célèbre since being kidnapped in 2006.

Little is known about Conrad, even in his own country, where he holds a senior post in the BND. But the Israeli center-left newspaper Haaretz reported in 2008, when after 18 months of shuttle diplomacy Conrad secured the exchange of a Hezbollah militant for the remains of two Israeli soldiers, that since the 1990s he had been involved in every Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap in which the BND had participated.

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