Israel is refusing to release senior leaders of the Hamas movement currently imprisoned in Israel for security reasons as part of a Shalit prisoner swap deal, according to a report published Thursday by the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Palestinian sources known to be reliable and close to the negotiations for brokering a prisoner swap deal for the release of Shalit told the newspaper, "The Hamas movement is inclined to agree to a deal in which Palestinian prisoners will be released in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit."
The sources did not say how many Palestinian prisoners would be released in the swap.
According to the report, there are disagreements within the Hamas ranks over whether or not the deal could be completed if it does not include the release of prominent Hamas prisoners currently sitting in Israeli jails.
Reportedly, Hamas is not opposed to the permanent deportation of the said prisoners. The same sources said, "The prominent Hamas prisoners jailed in Israel, with Abbas al-Sayyad, Ibrahim Hamed, Abdel Nasser Issa, and Abdallah Barghouti figuring most notably amongst them, believe that this deal is their only hope for release and that leaving their names out will devalue it."
A group of bereaved Israeli parents who lost family members in terror attacks led by the group "The Three Fathers" from Haifa, announced Wednesday their plans to launch a campaign against the release of hundreds of terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit.
In a statement issued by the parents, they made an unprecedented attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding that a state commission of inquiry be formed to investigate the Israeli government's conduct into what they called "the Hamas negotiation and surrender affair."
"If he releases the worst of all murderers, those who murdered our children, we will do all within our power to topple the Netanyahu government," the parents threatened.