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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Claim: Hamas agreed to deport terrorists

A top Hamas official (in a letter written from an Israeli jail, according to Israel Radio) claims that Hamas agreed with the Olmert government to the 'deportation' (and that word is in scare quotes because it often just means that someone from Judea and Samaria is forced to move to Gaza) of 82 Hamas terrorists who were to be released from Israeli jails, but the Netanyahu government refused to go along with the deal when it took power.
Hamas agreed during talks with the previous Israeli administration to deport 82 prisoners to Gaza rather than their hometowns but the new government refused, a top party official said Saturday.

The movement also offered to let Israel pick 550 of the prisoners it would release in exchange for captured soldier Gilad Shalit, the senior Hamas official wrote in a document smuggled from prison.

"Hamas was flexible; it demanded the release of 1,000 out of 7,000 prisoners," the official said. Hamas "gave Israel the freedom of choosing the other 550 prisoners out of 1,000."

He added: "Hamas was also flexible when it agreed on deporting 82 prisoners to Gaza and to other countries" as opposed to the West Bank and the talks "were finished at this point, during the Olmert era."

But when Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister of Israel in 2009, he gave the negotiators new instructions that cancelled any prior agreements. Hamas says it refused to backtrack.

"When the German middleman visited, it was discovered that Netanyahu wanted to manage the issue rather than resolve it. He wants to resubmit an old offer with a new formula," the letter says.
Israel Radio reported that Netanyahu wanted to deport an additional 76 terrorists, and that it wanted to substitute 'lighter' terrorists for 325 of the terrorists on Hamas' list that had been agreed with Olmert's government. The other 125 had not been agreed upon. Hamas also claimed that it wanted to free 'Israeli Arab' terrorists who would lose their Israeli citizenship and be expelled but that Netanyahu refused. According to Israel Radio, the demand to deport an additional 76 terrorists caused the negotiations to break down. Netanyahu's office has had no comment.

JPost adds.
The Hamas prisoners also dismissed fears that many of those who would be released in a prisoner exchange deal would return to the path of terror. “The information we have affirms that the prisoners who were released in previous swaps did not resort to acts that harm Israel’s security,” the letter said. “Netanyahu is using the Schalit case for political interests. He’s deceiving the Schalit family and misleading Israeli public opinion.”
Yeah. Right.

The only question about this one is for whose benefit did they right the letter? Is it an attempt to bring Israeli public pressure on Netanyahu, or is it an attempt to show their own 'people' that they're doing all they can to bring about the terrorists' release? It's probably both.

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At 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They have one prisoner. They should get one prisoner in exchange, no? These mass releases encourage future kidnappings as well as Hamas' refusal to abide by the traditional rules for handling POWs. If Israel wants to engage in indirect discussions with Hamas over this and that they could pick a topic with less danger of leading to future extortion.


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