Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal
Photo: AFP

Shalit deal: Hamas debates deportation

Hamas’ Gaza, Damascus leaderships at odds over several issues pertaining to swap deal

Hamas on Thursday continued to debate Israel's response to the latest draft of the prisoner exchange deal meant to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.


Both the Gaza Strip and the Damascus leaderships were at odds over several issues mentioned in the deal's outline, as presented by the German mediator.


According to a Hamas source, the major bones of contention are "first and foremost the mass (prisoner) deportation from the West Bank, followed by Israel's refusal to release top leaders and third – Israel's reluctance to limit the deportation period to no more than two years.”


Hamas seems to view the subject of deportation as more significant than the Israeli refusal to release several prisoners.


However, the group rebuffed claims that the Gaza and Damascus leaderships were conflicted on the matter, saying no final decision have been made on any level.


"Deliberations cannot be brief when we have to confer with our jailed leaders and the prisoners themselves. This process takes time," said the source.


The prisoners themselves, added the source, were conflicted: "Over the past few hours there have been debates on several levels at prison. Some prisoners are willing to accept deportation but need clarifications regarding the time period. Others reject the notion completely, saying they prefer to stay in jail.


Hamas stressed recently that it will not allow "people who are in their homeland and near their families to be deported. We are considering the matter in principle as (a solution) for people for whom deportation is the only way to get out of life sentences. 


"It is also important to emphasize that the deportation must be acceptable to the prisoners. We will not enforce it."


Hamas also refused to name the prisoners Israel refuses to release: "Overall, they are the same names who are mentioned in the media. We are still adamant that all the names mentioned in our list will be included in the deal," said the source.” These prisoners have no other chance of being released so we have to take our time. We estimate that several rounds of mediation will be needed, despite the fact that the negotiations are ongoing."


פרסום ראשון: 12.25.09, 00:21
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