Hamas Says Israeli Demands ‘Impossible,’ Expected to Reject Shalit Deal


hamas-in-cairoThe Hamas leadership has concluded its discussions on a prisoner exchange deal with Israel and is expected to reject the reservations presented by Israel. A movement delegation from Gaza, which held consultations in Damascus in the past few days, was expected to return to the Strip today. The official response will be delivered to German mediator Gerhard Konrad, who is out of the region due to holiday season, in the coming days.

The movement decided that the Israeli formula was unacceptable and has demanded a significant improvement in order to resume the talks on the deal, which is aimed at securing the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

A Hamas source told Ynet that the Israeli demand that some prisoners be deported was “unacceptable, definitely not in terms of the suggested numbers. The senior prisoners Israel is refusing to free, the lack of guarantees in terms of the deportees – all these make the deal impossible under these terms as far as we are concerned.”

According to the source, “We have already said that the series of intensive discussions in Israel was one big show. The Israelis has no plan to implement the deal. They were aware of our demands and rejected them, making Israel responsible for the fact that the deal is about to be delayed for a longer period of time which I am unable to define.”

He estimated that Israel’s stand was not aimed at improving its situation in the negotiations.

“We are under the impression that Israel is not interested in a deal, and that the entire atmosphere created around the discussions and the Israeli leaks about painful concessions were in order to make it clear to the public opinion that Israel has done everything. But Israel has not done a thing, and it is solely responsible for Gilad Shalit turning into the second Ron Arad, inside the Strip.”

The Hamas source added, “We reiterate that the deal, as far as we are concerned, is possible within a short period of time and that Israel knows what it has to do in order to make it possible.”

He noted, however, that the deal is not over and done with and that the talks and consultations would continue in the near future.

{Ynet/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}