Shalit 1,318 days in captivity
Photo: Reuters

Al-Zahar: Shalit talks have collapsed

In response to al-Zahar's remarks, parents of captive soldier say Hamas should look out for Gazans' interests rather than their own, while activists from Shalit campaign attempt to hinder passage of fuel trucks at Gaza crossing

Negotiations between Israel and Hamas on the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit have "collapsed", Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar told the BBC.


"As of now the process has failed," al-Zahar said. "After the involvement of Benjamin Netanyahu, it appears we have gone one step back."


But Shalit's parents called on Hamas to be more flexible, for the sake of Gaza's residents. "Before the heads of Hamas declare a freeze in negotiations of a prisoner swap they should remember that in addition to holding Gilad hostage without basic human rights, they are also holding hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians hostage in Gaza for close to four years, in intolerable humanitarian conditions," a statement from the family said.


"Because of the hard-headedness of Hamas's leaders, hundreds of thousands of simple and uninvolved civilians are living for the fourth year under siege, desperate poverty, hunger, and economic and political strangulation. This is why it is time for Hamas to consider its steps and begin looking out for the interests of their people rather than their own political interests."


Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, Activists from the Kibbutz Movement gathered at Gaza crossings in an attempt to hinder fuel trucks from crossing into the Strip.


The activists were demonstrating against what they called the ongoing freeze in negotiations with Hamas for the release of Gilad Shalit, by hinting to the organization that supplies to Gaza would stop if more information on the kidnapped soldier was not provided soon.


Early in the morning the activists arrived at the Karni crossing, through which fuel trucks generally pass. When the trucks were redirected to the Kerem Shalom crossing, the activists followed.


Yoel Marshak, who heads the Kibbutz Movement's task force, said the protest had two goals. "The first is to clarify to Hamas that if they hand over a crumb of information on the kidnapped soldier they will get fuel. If they don't, they won't," he said.


"The second is to call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop dallying and end the negotiations for the release of the soldier. He needs to sign this deal already, and get Gilad back to his family."


The protest was the first in many months. The Shalits have asked activists to tone down demonstrations because they said Netanyahu and Hagai Hadas were working hard on the case. Even when Netanyahu announced he would not sign a deal recently under scrutiny, the couple refused to back a public battle.


A spokesman for the Shalits said they planned to maintain their silence while receiving information on the talks.


פרסום ראשון: 02.02.10, 11:18
 new comment
See all talkbacks "Al-Zahar: Shalit talks have collapsed"
This will delete your current comment