After rejected the offer by the Palestinian resistance to swap the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit with 1000 Palestinian women and children prisoners in Israeli jails, the Palestinian resistance groups declared discussion on the issue closed.
"Discussion is closed," Abu al-Muthana, spokesman for the Islamic Army in the Gaza Strip, said. "We will not disclose any information about the fate of the soldier."
The ultimatum set by Palestinian resistance groups holding Shalit in the Gaza Strip expired at 6 A.M. Tuesday.
There was no immediate comment from the other two groups that were involved in the capture of Shalit on June 25 in an operation they carried out against an Israeli military base in the southern Gaza Strip near Kerem Shalom. Two Israeli soldiers were killed and five were wounded.
The Palestinian resistance did not mention what measures will be taken if their demands were not met, though they did refrain from saying that the soldier will be killed.
Abu Obaida, spokesman of Al-Qassam brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, held Israel responsible for the fate of the soldier.
“This is a warning to the Zionist enemy. If they do not respond to our demands, things will be very complicated, the ball is in their court now, if they really care about the life of their soldier, they should respond positively to our demands. It seems that the Zionist enemy has not learned from previous experiences of when we captured Israeli soldiers in the past.”
Abu al-Muthana said the captured soldier is being treated as a prisoner of war, saying that “in Islam, prisoners should be treated with respect.”
Israeli officials have refused to negotiate, saying that if they release Palestinian prisoners, they will be rewarding the Palestinian resistance.
"Nothing has changed from our standpoint," Justice Minister Haim Ramon said on Army Radio.
"The right thing is not to give a prize to terror, not to give in to terror, but the opposite."
Mohammed Dahlan, a Palestinian legislator and close ally of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the ultimatum was a negotiating tactic and that efforts to broker a compromise were continuing.
"What we care about now in the Gaza Strip is not to reach a point of no return," he said. "Everyone has an interest in getting out of this crisis."
The resistance groups confirmed that the soldier is still alive and that he received medical treatment for the wounds he sustained during the operation before he was captured.