Hamas: Olmert Played Shalits For Fools


hamas-in-cairoHamas representatives in Cairo responded this evening to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s televised address, in which he accused the Palestinian group for the failure of the talks aimed at securing kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit’s release. One of the organization’s leaders in Gaza, Ismail Radwan, said that “Olmert is the one responsible for the failure of getting a deal…because he wouldn’t do what he had to do. He was afraid and he played the Israeli public and the Shalit family for fools.”

Hamas politburo member Osama al-Mazini, said to hold the “Shalit portfolio” in the Islamist group, told al-Jazeera television that his group “set a declared goal demanding the release of 1,000 prisoners in two rotations – the first including 450 men jailed for lengthy terms and the second, two months later, including 500 prisoners.”Israel was the one to renege on the understandings, he said, adding that the list was complied “only after the Zionist enemy agreed to these terms. It is the enemy that went back on the agreement.. This list is as the heart of the deal.”

Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Beirut, claimed Israel “thinks that Hamas will accept less than the bare minimum under pressure that the next Israeli government…risks being less disposed to proceed with an exchange.”

“As soon as there is a serious offer from Israel, we will deal with it,” he said in a statement published on the group’s website.

Earlier today, Olmert gave a special address to the nation, in which he elaborated on the failure of the Cairo negotiations. He stressed that he would not give in to Hamas.

“The Israeli government, as long as it is headed by me, will not agree to Hamas’ dictations as presented to the negotiating team.

“The Israeli offers presented to the other side were generous and far-reaching and were meant to lead to Gilad’s release. I approved these offers, whose practical meaning was to release hundreds of terrorists, including murderers of Israelis, in return for Shalit’s possible release. These offers were rejected.”

The prime minister went on to point a finger to the Gaza Strip. “Unfortunately, we encountered a cruel, murderous and merciless body, lacking any basic human emotions, which was unwilling to accept the challenge.

“I would like to say here on behalf of the State of Israel and its government: We have red lines. We won’t cross them.” He stressed, however, that he would continue the efforts to release Shalit.

In a special cabinet meeting convened this afternoon, the government appointed a special ministerial committee headed by Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann to examine ways to pressure Hamas, including forming regulations which would compare the conditions of Hamas prisoners jailed in Israel to those of Gilad Shalit.

All the defense officials who spoke during the cabinet meeting said that accepting Hamas’ conditions would heavily damage the State of Israel, excluding IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel/Ynet}