Osama al-Muzaini, a senior Hamas member responsible for talks over the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilda Shalit, welcomed the "videotape deal" approved by the Israeli government on Wednesday, saying it was a source of optimism.
According to the Prime Minister's Office, Israel will release 20 female Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a videotape containing a sign of life from the captive soldier.
Al-Muzaini confirmed that the German mediator between Israel and Hamas had a key role in the deal, alongside Egyptian mediation efforts.
Israeli officials said Wednesday evening that the tape slated to be handed over to Israel is one-minute long and shows the kidnapped soldier with his face to the camera. The video will also include proof that it was taken recently.
"This deal was made possible thanks to the effort made by the German mediator and his ability to create a breakthrough," he said. "We don't want to sink in optimism because there are still obstacles, but this partial deal provides a foundation for optimism."
He noted that the rest of the female Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel would be released as part of the first stage of the Shalit deal. According to al-Muzaini, the first stage would include the release of 28 additional female prisoners, including Jerusalem residents.
The deal is meant to take place this Friday. The list of prisoners slated to be released was published on the Israel Prison Service's website, in order to allow petitions to be filed against their release in the 48 hours left before the deal is implemented.