Photo: AP
Moussa Abu Marzouk
Photo: AP

Hamas: Israel deceived us

Islamist group calls prime minister's decision to precondition any ceasefire with Gilad Shalit's release 'a diplomatic heist', says change was made after initial understandings were achieved

While the National Security Cabinet convened in Jerusalem to discuss whether or not to condition the ceasefire agreement with Hamas with the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, the Palestinian group seemed stunned by the Israeli government's new stand.


"The Egyptian efforts are ongoing. We agreed to a lull and have notified Egypt of our decision," senior Hamas member Mahmoud al-Zahar was quoted by Arab newspapers as saying Wednesday.


"We have given our answer to a (suggested) calm which includes the end to aggression and the opening of the Gaza crossings. The other side agreed to keep the question of Shalit separate and leave 20% of the blockade in place ahead of the next stage.


"We were surprised to learn that (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert wants to resolve Shalit's issue first. We do not object to that, but it would have to comply with our demands for prisoner release," said al-Zahar.


Israel's actions, he added are "a diplomatic heist and an attempt to gain as much concessions from the Palestinians as possible in regards to the lull and Shalit. We will not give in."


Hamas leaders spoke of being "deceived" by Israel. The latter, they said, backed away from on the previous agreement calling for an 18-month ceasefire. Shalit's release, they added, was meant to follow the armistice.


The Islamist group was reportedly notified of the change in Israel's stand by Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.


Meanwhile, deputy Hamas politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk said that his organization "is willing to set Shalit free at any given time in exchange for the release of 1,000 prisoners, including all Palestinian parliament members, women and children jailed in Israel."  


פרסום ראשון: 02.18.09, 10:10
 new comment
This will delete your current comment