Abu Marzouk. Blames Netanyahu, Konrad
Photo: AP

Hamas: Mediator could have been more firm

Palestinian organization's deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk blames Prime Minister Netanyahu for deadlock in prisoner exchange talks. 'His stand is more radical than Olmert's,' he says, pointing finger at German mediator as well

The Hamas organization is blaming Israel for the deadlock in talks aimed at securing the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, but is also pointing a finger at a new element: German mediator Gerhard Konrad.


Hamas deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk said Sunday in an interview to the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper that the negotiations on a prisoner exchange deal have reached a standstill due to what he defined as "a retreat in (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu's stand, which has become more radical than (former Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert's."


Abu Marzouk accused the German mediator of being part of the crisis, saying that Konrad "could have acted more firmly in order to reach a compromise between the parties".


"There is no deal at the moment," the Hamas leader said. "If the negotiations for a prisoner exchange fail, Netanyahu will be fully responsible." He estimated that his men would need two days to implement the deal in case of a positive response from Israel to Hamas' demands.


Abu Marzouk confirmed that "unprecedented progress" had been made in the talks over the past few weeks, but said this had ended when "Israel suddenly went back on its stand and froze all the achievements made."


The Hamas leader refused to say how many prisoners were at the focus of the disagreement between the sides, adding that "the reports and leaks about it in the media are false."


Israel lowering expectations

Prime Minister Netanyahu clarified about two weeks ago that Israel would insist that terrorists would not return to action on the ground as part of a prisoner swap deal.


"As of now, there is no deal, and it is not at all clear if there will be a deal. It is clear that if we reach a practical proposal, I will bring it to the cabinet. But we still are not there and I don't know if we will be," Netanyahu said.


Hamas on Saturday downplayed the prime minister's statements, according to which Israel would not show any more flexibility in the prisoner exchange talks.


"The comments are meant for the Israeli press", an Islamist group source told the London-based Arabic-language al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.


פרסום ראשון: 01.10.10, 10:23
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