Hamas has been dismissive of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's reported statements over the weekend that Israel will show no more flexibility in talks to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit.
Netanyahu was quoted by sources in the Prime Minister's Office on Friday as saying that his point man in talks to free the tank gunner, Hagai Hadas, would be given no more "wiggle room" beyond the mandate he had received, and that Israel's recent offer to Hamas had been final.
A Hamas source told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper on Saturday that Netanyahu's statements were solely intended for Israeli ears.
"The comments were meant for the Israeli press," the source said.
The German mediator in the prisoner exchange talks is scheduled to meet with a Hamas delegation to hear its response to the Israeli offer, Palestinian sources reported.
"The prime minister insists that dangerous terrorists, as well as those who committed murder with their own hands, will not be released to locations from which they will endanger the lives of Israeli citizens," sources close to the premier were quoted by local media as saying.
A Hamas source said on Friday the organization would not give in to Israeli demands and predicted that Israel would eventually accept all its demands. "Anyone who thinks Hamas is in a weak position in the prisoner exchange negotiations is wrong. Israel will eventually lose the nerve-racking game, and will accept all of the conditions set by Hamas for Schalit's release," Army Radio quoted a Hamas source as saying.
There was no comment from Israeli officials on the Hamas statement.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu met with former prime minister Ehud Olmert to discuss a prisoner exchange deal, Ynet reported on Friday. Netanyahu asked Olmert to tell him what prevented a deal from being reached last March, just before Olmert's government left office and the current government was formed.
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