Hamas’ al-Zahar Says No Negotiations on Shalit Deal


al-zaharOn the backdrop of reports of an Israeli request to renew negotiations on the Shalit deal, Hamas stresses there are no talks and Israel is at fault. Hamas official and former Palestinian FM Mahmoud al-Zahar blamed Israel Sunday for hindering the Shalit prisoner swap deal and revealed inside information on negotiations.

 Speaking at a Gaza university, al-Zahar said that Israel backed out of agreements on the number of Palestinian prisoners meant to be released as part of the deal in the last minute.

┬áNevertheless, the Hamas official confirmed that there had also been disagreement within the movement regarding the deal, though the main obstacle came in the change in Israel’s position. He added that in addition to Egypt, European countries such as Germany and Ireland tried to bridge over differences between Hamas and Israel but had no success.

A senior Hamas element told the Qatari al-Sharq newspaper that National Security Adviser Uzi Arad asked Egypt to resume its efforts on the Shalit deal after visiting Cairo last week.

The source further noted that Israel was interested in reigniting the talks for two purposes: “To stop domestic pressure on the prime minister, and to avert attention from Israel’s efforts to build 50,000 housing units in the West Bank separating Hebron from the rest of the Bank.”

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into the Gaza Strip 1,358 days ago.

{Ynet/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}