Hamas: Israel Stalling Shalit Deal Over 125 Prisoners


gilad-shalit-smallOsama al-Muzaini, a Hamas negotiator in charge of the Gilad Shalit deal, claims that Israel is stalling discussions on prisoner exchange agreement, Channel 10 quoted a Palestinian news site reporting today.

According to al-Muzaini, the bone of contention is 125 prisoners whom he says Israel refuses to release. He added that he believes that if the prisoners aren’t freed, they destined for death row.

Despite the obstacle, al-Muzaini is optimistic about the present negotiations and said he hopes the deal will take place soon.

Although Hamas released a video of Shalit proving he is alive and uninjured nearly a month ago, Hamas sources emphasized that the deal was not a breakthrough and negotiations for Shalit’s release can be expected to continue for some time.

Hamas said that in addition to the contention over the group of prisoners serving life terms, there are also disagreements over whether other prisoners should be permitted to return to their homes in the West Bank.

Israeli officials said recently that the parties have worked out an agreement of principles that outlines the timetable and stages of the final swap.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel/Haaretz}