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Hamas Sets Conditions for Resuming Negotiations with Israel over Shalit - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat- An informed source within Hamas has stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that his movement refuses absolutely to resume negotiations over Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit’s case before its conditions have been met.

The source which spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity added that Hamas has three conditions for resuming the indirect negotiations over Shalit’s case and these are: Israel’s prior agreement to release the Palestinian detainees included in the Hamas list that was sent through Egypt and Israel’s implementation of all its obligations under the calm agreement which include the reopening of the crossings in full and allowing the entry of all goods and materials and the reopening of the Rafah crossing.

The source went on to say that another movement condition is the Egyptian security organs’ release of its elements held in Egyptian jails who were arrested after the collapse of the Egyptian-Palestinian borders last January. It added: “It is unreasonable for Egypt to mediate between us and Israel so as to reach a prisoners’ swap deal while at the same time detaining our elements unjustly.”

The source stressed that Ofer Dekel, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s envoy, brought to Cairo yesterday a list of 450 names of Palestinian prisoners whom Israel is proposing to release in return for releasing Shalit during the first stage and stressed that Hamas is insisting that Israel should comply with the list of the names it had prepared and sent to Tel Aviv through Cairo. It pointed out that the threats by Israeli security circles about putting an end to the calm, re-imposing the blockade on the Strip in full, and launching military operations against Hamas would not force the movement to back down on its stand or demonstrate any flexibility in its conditions for releasing Shalit. It stressed that Hamas is insisting on the release of 450 detainees who are serving life sentences in Israeli jails after being convicted of killing soldiers and settlers in addition to the release of all detained Palestinian women, children, and sick prisoners as well as the release of all the Hamas deputies arrested by Israel in the wake of Shalit’s kidnapping.

Shalit’s family called on the Israeli Government the day before yesterday to stop the transfer of funds to the Gaza Strip for paying the salaries of the Palestinian Authority’s employees and said in a letter sent to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that this measure is bound to exert pressure on Hamas to release its son. Hamas’s condition for the release of its members detained in Egyptian jails for resuming the negotiations over Shalit is a sign of the tension in the two sides’ relations.

Some leading figures in the movement are demanding in closed sessions moving the Shalit dossier from Egypt’s hand to a European or Arab one. These circles criticized Egypt for not endorsing Hamas’s condition for releasing the captured soldier in their talks with Israeli officials and say the Egyptians quite often adopt the Israeli stand and demand from Hamas to accept it.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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