Arab citizens of Israel joined the mounting criticism against Hamas and the Shalit deal, expressing disappointment over the exclusion of three female prisoners from the prisoner swap, which will see the release of 1,027 detainees in return for captive soldier Gilad Shalit.
The Islamic Movement said on Monday that it was considering cancelling the festivities planned in honor of the six Israeli Arabs who did make it onto the list, and who are scheduled to be released on Tuesday.
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- Hamas publishes Gilad's 'ticket' to freedom
The issue of female prisoners has gained much attention in the past week. While Hamas vowed to empty the Israeli prisons from female detainees, as the details of the deal unfolded, it turned out that some will nevertheless remain in jail, including three Israeli Arabs.
Female prisoners transferred from Hadarim Prison (Photo: Ido Erez)
On Sunday, family members protested in Umm al-Fahm, urging Hamas to release all female prisoners, but the Islamic organization already announced that it will not risk thwarting the deal for the few females left behind.
- For full coverage of the Shalit deal click here
Tayibe resident Iman Haj Yehiya slammed the deal, saying "it is a poor and incomplete deal; we are disappointed by Hamas, which waived the release of three female prisoners who belong to the Arabs of '48.
"We are not convinced by their political justification, and we demand explanations as to why they were left behind," he said.
Protest in Ramallah (Photo: Gur Dotan)
"Hamas took care of his own people, and ignored the Israeli Arabs," said Sakhnin resident Hani Badarna, "They released six prisoners to show they care for us, thinking we were small children who can be fooled.
"But I say to Hamas – you didn’t do us a favor by releasing six prisoners; it's not a good deal," Badarna noted.
Kfar Qassem residents echoed similar voices, one residents saying: "The Shalit deal showed us that Israeli Arabs have no value in the eyes of Israel and Hamas. We don’t believe either side. They deceived us.
"Hamas proved that their word is worthless – they said there will be no deal without all the female prisoners, but it didn’t happen. It was all groundless promises," said Saeed Issa, adding that while he is happy a deal has been reached, his happiness is incomplete.
"They should have first released all the female prisoners from Tira, Araba and Ilut. This is a dishonest act, orchestrated by Hamas and Israel," he exclaimed.
'Not equally distributed'
Meanwhile, some 200 family members of security prisoners who were not included in the prisoner swap demonstrated in Ramallah against the deal.
The protest was attended by family members of Palestinian detainees from all factions. The relatives held photos of their loved ones, including Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat, who were not included in the swap.
The father of one of the prisoners criticized Hamas, saying: "Unfortunately this deal was not equally distributed among prisoners from the different factions."
Family members of Mahmoud Jibrin, who was handed a long prison sentence in Israel, expressed hope that their son will eventually be released – even if it means abducting more Israeli soldiers.
"The people of Israel must understand that we have no other way to release the prisoners," said Jibrin's father.
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