Israel is the "principle obstacle" to finalizing a deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, a spokesman for Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday.
"Israel represents the principle obstacle to reach a deal for the exchange of prisoners. With the position it has adopted, Israel affirms that it does not want the release of Shalit and does not want a deal," said Ghazi Hamad.
Israel said Tuesday it was "disappointed' with a list of prisoners the Palestinians want released in exchange for Shalit who was kidnapped last June in a cross-border attack by gunmen from Hamas and other armed groups near the Gaza border.
"There is no reason to refuse the names presented to Israel. The expression 'have blood on their hands' is absurd and we reject it entirely," added Hamad.
Israel has said that releasing prisoners with blood on their hands would be a heavy price to pay for Shalit as many prisoners on the list have been convicted of involvement in deadly attacks against Israeli civilians.
"In the past, Israel carried out prisoner exchanges of Hizbullah members who killed Israelis," Hamad said, adding that the Palestinians were open to further discussions should Israel reject the present list.