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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hamas: Shalt talks on hold, Israel violating "lull" (truce)

 Last update - 00:00 20/07/2008       
Hamas: Shalit talks on hold, Israel not meeting truce terms
By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, and Agencies
Hamas confirmed Saturday that the talks for the release of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit were on hold. A senior Hamas figure said that once the group understood that Israel was not fulfilling its end of the cease-fire agreement, it had decided that continuing the Shalit talks would be futile at this time.
The source told Haaretz it is unlikely a Hamas delegation will depart for Cairo where renewed talks on a possible exchange deal would take place under an Egyptian aegis.
However, despite the charges directed at Israel, Palestinian sources believe Hamas isn't willing to be flexible about Shalit at this time due to the recent prisoner swap with Hezbollah.
The same sources noted that the release of Samir Kuntar has led Hamas to the conclusion that the radical Islamic organization should stick to its demands, which includes the release of 1,000 prisoners, many of whom were sentenced to life in prison for their role in suicide bomb attacks.
At a political rally in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Ismail Haniyeh, who was prime minister in a Hamas-led Palestinian government, called on Interior Minister Said Sayam, to issue Samir Kuntar a diplomatic passport.
In an aggressive tone, Haniyeh told the crowd in Gaza that Hamas will not give in on "any issue" related to the release of Shalit.
Hamas will insist on the release of prisoners who were sentenced to life in prison. He concluded his speech by shouting "Jerusalem is ours, Gaza, Haifa, Jaffa, all of them are ours."

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