Mahmoud al-Zahar
Photo: AP
Marwan Barghouti
Photo: Yariv Katz

Hamas: Abbas wanted to free Shalit for free

Mahmoud al-Zahar says Palestinian president proposed to release captive soldier if Israel agrees to lift blockade on Gaza. 'Fatah disrespects, belittles the deal,' he says

Senior Hamas member Mahmoud al-Zahar slammed Fatah on Sunday, accusing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of suggesting to hand captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit over to Israel on the condition that it lifts its blockade on the Gaza Strip, without including prisoners in the deal.


Al-Zahar said in an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that Abbas' proposal to Hamas was rejected because it called for "Shalit to be returned to Israel without any compensation."


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Al-Zahar dismissed PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki's criticism of the prisoner exchange deal that Hamas signed with Israel, calling it a Fatah plot to "disrespect and belittle the deal."


Al-Maliki expressed disappointment on Thursday that many of the prisoners who are to be released will be deported to Gaza or abroad. Al-Zahar said in response that anyone who is not pleased with the deal "is welcome to stay in prison."


'No guarantees with Israel'

The senior Hamas official also addressed reports over Israel's pledge not to harm the freed Palestinian prisoners, saying that the issue is moot, as there are no guarantees where Israel is concerned.


"Even if there was a written commitment, it wouldn't stop Israel from taking action," he said.


Bringing up Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Ismail Abu Shanab – both of whom were imprisoned in Israel and were later assassinated – to illustrate his claim, al-Zahar said that "Any resistance operative is a target for Israel."


Meanwhile, a source close to the deal told Al-Hayat that the Palestinian prisoners that Israel refused to release expressed support for the deal, despite their exclusion.


The source said that Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in Israel for his involvement in the murder of Israelis during the al-Aqsa intifada, "is a political leader who… will return to politics at the Fatah movement, which is why he could not be released as part of the deal."


He said that while Israel's motives to keep Barghouti are purely political, the deal paves the way for his eventual release.




פרסום ראשון: 10.16.11, 09:29
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