Hamas' representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, told the Israeli Arab newspaper Kul al-Arab Thursday evening that "the Israeli government is determined to have the kidnapped soldier killed and its behavior sends a message to the resistance fighters that he should not be kept alive, but to kill him fast."
Hamdan spoke of the soldier's kidnapping and the arrests that ensued: "Let the occupation stop trying to create a link between the kidnapping of the soldier in battlefield and its terrorist and criminal attitude in the form of the arrests of parliament members elected by the people in a democratic manner. Without speaking of the soldier's issue, the Israeli government has to understand that it cannot link the occupation to murderous acts and its demand for security at the same time."
"How can they demand we stop attacking army bases that hit us and killed our children? When I want to make clear is that every operation carried out by the occupation forces, all options will become open in the kidnapped soldier's case, and nothing will stop us from carrying out these options. We will not stand handcuffed in the face of escalations. Actions will be decided at the right time and in the right place," he said.
Accoring to Hamdan, Hamas will consider releasing the kidnapped soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, only after the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.
"Don't send your children to an army that kills women, children and babies," he said, addressing the Israeli public.
'Abandon occupation army'
In the interview, which will be published on Friday, Hamdan was asked what needs to happen for his group to release Gilad Shalit.
"We have 10,000 Palestinian prisoners who have been kidnapped by the occupation. Four hundred of them are children and 150 children, and there is no escape from their return to their homes and families. If they don't agree to release them in return for the soldier's release, the resistance will carry out a second and a third kidnapping, until the prisoners are released from jail. The required solution to this problem is the release of all prisoners and only then we might release the kidnapped soldier," he replied.
In a phone call from Beirut, Hamdan was asked to send a message to the Shalit family and all families whose sons serve in the IDF.
He called on soldiers to leave their units because "the occupation army kills civilians, especially children, and occupies their land. If you want to live in peace, stop sending your sons to an army led by a government that wants to prove its capabilities when it has no military experience and this on the account of you sons in lost battles."
He used the opportunity to send a message to Arab and Muslim countries: "The Palestinians are still standing in their homeland, but you will pay the price if you don't stand by the Palestinian people."