Shalit as seen in Hamas video
Photo: Reuters

Hamas says Shalit talks ongoing

Senior Islamist group figure Hamdan says Netanyahu will be held responsible of prisoner swap talks fail

"Gilad Shalit will see the light of day as soon as Israel accepts Hamas' demands," a senior Islamist group figure was quoted by the London-based Arabic newspaper Al Hayat as saying Saturday.


Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas representative in Lebanon, told Al Hayat that negotiations with Israel over a prisoner exchange agreement are continuing.


"Should the talks fail, (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is the only one who will be held responsible if he rejects our demands," Hamdan said in the interview, "As long as there are prisoners we will continue to negotiate with the aim of reaching an agreement that would see all of the Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails."


Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal said this week that that the Islamist group will provide its "clear and final" answer regarding the prisoner swap deal to the German mediator within days.


He noted that the deal is currently in a very important and delicate stage, and also accused Israel of trying to "manipulate and play games."


On Sunday Netanyahu also addressed the deal and noted during a meeting with Likud Knesset members that Israel will not release "terror symbols."


"We have no intention of freeing major terrorists and the release of terrorists to Judea and Samaria should be prevented," said the PM.


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


Reports of recent offers made by 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 Israel's demand that some of the Palestinians slated for release be deported to Gaza and abroad.


IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into Gaza by Palestinian terrorists on June 25, 2006. 


פרסום ראשון: 01.16.10, 17:35
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