"The pawn has served its purpose. There is no doubt that the high number of prisoners released has strengthened the movement's position in Palestinian society as well as future trust in Hamas," Marzouk said in an interview with the London-published al-Hayat newspaper.
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Abu Marzouk with Gilad Shalit during interview ahead of release (Photo: AP)
And though he recognized that the prisoner swap deal with Israel increased Hamas' political prestige, Abu Marzouk noted that Hamas did not abduct Shalit in order to keep him as a pawn and stressed that Shalit's kidnapping was only meant to do one thing: Lead to the release of prisoners. "From the start Hamas separated the political aspect of the issue."
He also addressed the assessments claiming that Hamas decided to sign on to a deal with Israel at this point because of Mahmoud Abbas' rising popularity over his UN speech in September.
"This is not a competition. The deal was a national event as it includes the release of prisoners sentenced to life sentences and so there was no internal rivalry."
In the interview Abu Marzouk also criticized Abbas' call for elections and said that the meaning of such a call was that the elections would not happen peacefully as they do not reflect the true and free opinions of the citizens.
He pointed out the hard line security measures taken against Hamas in the West Bank: Who can guarantee peaceful elections when there's a government of security tyranny? The persecution of Hamas elements in the West Bank, preventing its activities and closing its institutions means – closing doors on its popularity."
Responding to reports claiming that when he mets in Egypt with Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal next month, Abbas will suggest that the Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections be held next January, Marzouk stressed that the elections need to be held only after an internal Palestinian reconciliation agreement is ratified.
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