Photo: Reuters
Mashaal. Insists on prisoner exchange deal
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Noam Rotem
Gilad Shalit
Photo: Noam Rotem

Mashaal: Soldier should be kept alive

Hamas' political leader Khaled Mashaal tells news conference in Damascus: 'Our goals and our morals command us to keep the kidnapped soldier alive.' Mashaal insists Palestinian prisoners must be released in exchange for soldier

Head of Hamas' politburo referred Monday for the first time to the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit, and said that "it's impossible to release the soldier without getting something in return. This would be humiliating for the Palestinians."


Mashaal also said Israel must release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the captured Israeli soldier.

"Our people...are united on the insistence to swap the captured soldier with prisoners in the jails of the Zionist enemy," Mashaal said.


Mashaal told a press conference in Damascus that Shalit, captured by terrorists linked to his group is a "prisoner of war and international conventions and laws should be applied to his case."


"Our goals and our morals command us to keep the soldier alive," he stressed.  


International mediation


Mashaal discovered that "in the recent period, international mediators have approached us regarding the kidnapped soldier. Israel stubbornly insisted upon his unconditional release and refused to release Palestinian prisoners. This is not behavior that leads to crisis resolution. We told everyone, we don't want an escalation - but understand the needs of the Palestinians. This is a degradation and the European mediators know the truth."


According to Mashaal, "the Palestinans executed a heroic operation by capturing that soldier, even though the world's response in support of Israel is not proportional to the extent of the operation. Today, the Palestinian people are united regarding this operation in a way that they had not been in the past. The operation was one of bravery for the nation. We are proud of this operation and send our condolences to the shahids and their families."


"We do not claim that the tunnels, Qassam launchings and similar efforts will bring us to a balance of power Israel, given the enormous Israeli arsenal. But it is an expression of our aspirations. In essence, the Palestinian people are saying: I fight, therefore I am," he added.


News Agencies contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 07.10.06, 13:38
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