Hamas leaders Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouk 311 (R).
(photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
Hamas confirmed on Monday that it had rejected an offer made by a German
negotiator to reach a prisoner swap agreement with Israel.
Marzouk, deputy head of the Hamas “political bureau,” described the offer as
“unjust.” He told the London- based Al-Hayat newspaper that the German mediator
had “endorsed the unfair and unjust positions of the Zionist
'Netanyahu doesn't have right to sentence Gilad to death'
'Every hour that passes, Schalit becomes like Ron Arad'
Abu Marzouk said in the article that Hamas was not surprised
by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “intransigence.” But, he added, it was
unacceptable for the German mediator to endorse these positions.
Hamas official said his movement would no longer talk with the mediator because
he has failed in his mission. “We were expecting him to present moderate, and
not hard line, positions,” Abu Marzouk added.
“Instead of pressuring the
Zionist government to soften its conditions, he actually endorsed
He stressed that Hamas was interested in achieving a deal that
would secure the release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, but “only in the frame of
a national and dignified deal.”
In a related development, a Palestinian
human rights group that condemned Hamas’s treatment of Schalit has come under
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights was one
of several human rights organizations that called on Hamas to end the illegal
treatment of Schalit.
“Hamas authorities must immediately end the cruel
and inhuman treatment of Gilad Schalit, enable him to communicate with his
family and grant him access to the International Committee of the Red Cross,”
the groups said in a statement.
The statement was signed by Amnesty
International, B’Tselem, Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, Gisha: Legal
Center for Freedom of Movement, Human Rights Watch, Public Committee Against
Torture, Physicians for Human Rights, Palestinian Center for Human Rights
(Gaza), The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Yesh Din: Volunteers for
Human Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights.
Shaqoura, one of the directors of the Palestinian human rights group, said his
center was facing an irrational and unjustified attack.
government and several armed factions in the Gaza Strip strongly condemned the
Palestinian center for signing on to the statement together with Israeli and
Abu Obaida, spokesman for Izaddin al-Kassam, the
armed wing of Hamas, described the Palestinian group as “suspicious and Zionist”
because it ignores the plight of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli
“The participation of a Palestinian group in this statement is an
immoral and unpatriotic act,” he said.
Hamas and several Palestinian
factions are demanding that the director of the International Committee of the
Red Cross Gaza Strip leave under the pretext that he’s biased in favor of
The factions are furious with the Red Cross because of statements
it made recently concerning Schalit, who was kidnapped five years ago and is
being held in the Gaza Strip.
The Red Cross said earlier this week that
Schalit’s family had the right to visit him and demanded that Hamas provide
evidence that the soldier is still alive.
“Because there has been no sign
of life from Mr. Schalit for almost two years, the ICRC is now demanding that
Hamas prove that he’s alive,” the ICRC said. The organization also reiterated
its demand to visit Schalit in custody.
Palestinians on Monday
demonstrated in front of the ICRC offices in Gaza City in protest against the
organization’s position on Schalit.
The demonstrators demanded that the
director of ICRC be removed from his post and leave the Gaza Strip.
spokesman Ismail Radwan accused the ICRC of being biased in favor of Israel and
ignoring the fact that thousands of Palestinians are being held in Israeli
“Where is the international law and democracy that the head of
the Red Cross is talking about?” he asked. “We are demanding that he go away.”