The Deputy Head of the Hamas political bureau, Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouq, stated Saturday that the Hamas movement rejected an Israeli offer to release only 71 detainees out of a proposed list of 450 detainees, in exchange for the release of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. Israeli authorities currently hold over 10,000 Palestinians in prison camps inside Israel, while Palestinian resistance groups hold one Israeli soldier (Gilad Shalit) as a prisoner.
Abu Marzouq added that Hamas had given a list of 450 names of Palestinian detainees held by Israel to Egypt, which has been acting as a mediator. The Egyptians then handed the list over to Israeli authorities, who agreed to only release 71 detainees out of the 450.
Abu Marzouq said that this was not acceptable, and said that Hamas insists that all detainees mentioned in the list should be freed.
Talking to Al Hayat newspaper, published in London, Abu Marzouq said that Egypt is supervising indirect talks between Hamas and Israel in order to achieve a prisoner swap deal for the release of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in return for the release of 450 Palestinian detainees.
He also said that whether Egypt supervises the deal or not, all steps would be carried out away from the public press.
Commenting on talks conducted recently between Hamas and Egyptian officials, Abu Marzouq said that the two sides discussed the issue of the Rafah Terminal, adding that the opening of the terminal should be an Egyptian decision, and that 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza should not be punished by the closure of the terminal, which is leading to a humanitarian disaster.
Regarding the truce deal achieved recently with Israel under Egyptian mediation, Abu Marzouq stated that “one of the failures of the truce is that it excluded the West Bank.
“We have repeatedly warned that the Israeli provocations and ongoing attacks in the West Bank will reflect themselves on Gaza”, he stated, “It is not acceptable that Israel continues its hostilities in the West Bank without expecting a reaction from the Gaza Strip”.
Abu Marzouq also said that the Hamas government in Gaza explained its position to the Egyptian leaders and asked them to exert more effort into stopping the Israeli attacks.
He further stated that the killing of a Palestinian youth, who died by Israeli military fire near the Kissufim Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, is a serious Israeli violation of the truce.
Abu Marzouq also said that truce is beneficial to Israel and warned that any further violation will lead to a termination of the deal.