Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Hamas: We can wait to free Gilad Shalit

    Mahmoud al-Zahar
    Mahmoud al-Zahar

    Hamas founding member Mahmoud al-Zahar has said that the movement is not in a rush to conclude a deal over Gilad Shalit.

    "I think the deal will happen, but if not, we have patience," he said, referring to the deal nearly concluded last year through the German mediator.

    The deal fell through when the parties failed to agree on the identity of the last 125 Palestinian prisoners to be released, with Israel refusing to set free prisoners who were responsible for major terror attacks.

    Mr al-Zahar, who was involved in the negotiations for Shalit's release, accused Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu of deliberately torpedoing the Shalit deal in order to prevent his coalition from falling. In the final round of negotiations, he alleged, Mr Netanyahu submitted names of Palestinian prisoners which he knew would be unacceptable to Hamas, because they only had short terms left to serve in Israeli jails. "The Israeli side was not serious about reaching a true deal… Almost none of the mediators believe the Israeli side and we in Hamas cannot believe them either."

    He denied that the Shalit affair had damaged Hamas's position in Gaza.

    "The world rejected the results of the election in February 2006 and Shalit was kidnapped in June. But we were damaged massively by the continuing presence of our sons in the Israeli jails, and from the bad treatment our prisoners are subjected to. Imagine that a prisoner would stay in solitary confinement for 10 years, no one can imagine such a thing unless they have been through it themselves."

    Meanwhile, Mr al-Zahar said he expected many more flotillas to make their way to Gaza in the near future.

    "In a week or two there will be ongoing lines of [boats] like the freedom flotilla, not just from Turkey."

    He said that the world pushed for the easing of the naval blockade because "the Palestinian people stood firm, waking the world's conscience, which became convinced that there was no benefit in the blockade".

    However, he added that the decision was also influenced by "Israelis traders who operate heavy pressure on their government because they lost their market in Gaza".

Israel

Israel fire eyewitness: 'We were trying to out-...

Orlando Radice

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israel fire eyewitness: 'We were trying to out-...
Israel

Arabs and Palestinians around the world celebra...

JC Reporter

Friday, November 25, 2016

Arabs and Palestinians around the world celebra...
Israel

Bibi faces probe over subs deal

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bibi faces probe over subs deal
Israel

Meet the rabbi that's making waves

Tim Marshall

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meet the rabbi that's making waves
Israel

Tens of thousands evacuated as bush fires rage ...

JC Reporter

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tens of thousands evacuated as bush fires rage ...
Israel

Israeli rabbis, Hamas founder call for peace

Nathan Jeffay

Israeli rabbis, Hamas founder call for peace
Israel

Israeli navy submarine deal could be sunk

Anshel Pfeffer

Israeli navy submarine deal could be sunk
Israel

New cases for the Negev's genetic detective

Nathan Jeffay

New cases for the Negev's genetic detective
Israel

Israeli rabbis in hot water

Anshel Pfeffer

Israeli rabbis in hot water