Netanyahu, talking tough
Photo: AFP
Captive soldier Gilad Shalit
Photo: Reuters

PM: We won't free terror symbols

Prime minister tells Likud ministers Israel will not release 'terror symbols' in prisoner exchange deal for captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Netanyahu also stressed that construction in settlements is to resume in eight months

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed on Sunday in a meeting with Likud MKs that Israel has no plans of releasing "terror symbols" in a prisoner exchange deal for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit.


In light of Hamas' adamant demands of Israel to release a number of Palestinian terror organization heads imprisoned in Israel, Netanyahu's statements emphasize the firm line taken in negotiations, which seem to have reached a standstill.


Reports of recent offers made between Israel and Hamas regarding the exchange deal show that there are two main factors preventing the execution of the deal.


The first is the release of "heavy" prisoners, including former Tanzim head Marwan Barghouti, Popular Front Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat, and members of Hamas' military wing, Abdullah Barghouti and Ibrahim Hamed.


The second issue blocking the deal is the deportation of some of the prisoners to be released to Gaza and abroad.


Meanwhile, Hamas sources also seem pessimistic regarding the completion of the deal, and after directing accusations at Israel, Hamas on Sunday also pointed the finger at the German mediator, Gerhard Conrad.


Hamas deputy politburo chief Mousa Abu Marzouk told London-based al-Hayat newspaper that Conrad "could have worked with much more determination to reach a compromise between the parties."


Abu Marzouk stressed that, as of yet, there is no deal, and claimed that talks towards Shalit's release were jammed following "a withdrawal in Netanyahu's stance, which has become even more extreme than Olmert's".


He emphasized that should negotiations fail, responsibility would lie solely on Netanyahu's shoulders.


In his meeting with the Likud MKs, Netanyahu also addressed the construction freeze in settlements, and stressed that construction would be renewed in eight months.


He said that statements made by US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, according to which the US may freeze loan guarantees to Israel, were misinterpreted.


פרסום ראשון: 01.10.10, 18:19
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