'No developments.' Mashaal
Photo: AFP
'Trying to manipulate Hamas.' Netanyahu
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin

Mashaal: Israeli obstinacy preventing Shalit deal

Hamas politburo chief attributes stalemate in prisoner exchange negotiations to Israel's insistence on refusing to release 'quality' detainees; says terror group won't ease demands

Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal has denied reports that the Islamist group might soon relax its conditions and present a new list of prisoners for an exchange deal with Israel, which would secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.


Speaking to reporters in Kuwait on Saturday, Mashaal said "so far there are no developments (regarding a swap deal), because the Israeli side is continuing to insist (that Hamas ease its demands). They want to bring the soldier back without releasing the prisoners we had asked for."


Mashaal blamed Israel for the stalled negotiations, claiming Jerusalem was refusing to free arch-terrorists.


"We have 12,000 people being held in the Zionist enemy's jails. We asked that Israel free 1,000 detainees, including women, minors, parliament members and ministers, but as usual Israel swamped us with details and calls to implement the deal in phases, and all this after they vetoed the release of quality people who were on our list. This caused the negotiations to collapse," he said.


"It appears that (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is trying to manipulate us into easing our demands in any future negotiations, but we will never release Shalit unless Israel frees the prisoners that were part of the past agreement reached under Egyptian mediation."


Ynet has learned that in the past few days Egypt has been exerting heavy pressure on the Hamas leadership to resume the talks for a swap deal. The Egyptians made it clear to the Gaza-controlling movement that it must relax its stances, and that the names of prisoners rejected by the Olmert government would not be accepted by the Netanyahu government.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak is expected to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Sunday in order to advance a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas.


Shalit was captured by Palestinian terrorists during a cross-border on an IDF base near Gaza on June 25, 2006. 


פרסום ראשון: 06.21.09, 08:15
 new comment
This will delete your current comment