Hamas officials criticize prisoner list in Schalit deal

Hamas officials say deal failed to include important prisoners, like Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa'adat.

October 13, 2011 10:52
2 minute read.
Hamas militants celebrate in Gaza

Hamas militants celebrate 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem )


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Despite praise from Hamas's leadership over Israel's agreement to release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for tank gunner Gilad Schalit, some Hamas officials criticized the deal Thursday for failing to include certain senior Palestinian officials.

According to Israel Radio, Hamas officials were wary to approve a deal that did not include  Fatah's Marwan Barghouti, PFLP Secretary-General Ahmad Sa'adat, and senior officials from Hamas's militant wing Ibrahim Hamad, Abdullah Barghouti, and Abbas as-Said, all of whom have connections to fatal terror attacks, or groups that carried them out.

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One Hamas official said that Israel had not agreed to release Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa'adat because Jerusalem did not want the deal to be seen as a victory for Hamas, Egyptian Al Ahram reported.

At the same time, Palestinian sources "familiar with deal" told pan-Arab London-based newspaper Al Hayat that Hamas had "fought fierce negotiations for the release of the prisoners," adding that it was impossible for both sides to receive 100 percent.

And Egyptian source told Al Hayat that Cairo, which mediated negotiations between the Hamas and Israel, had made more than 20 proposals in an attempt to "close the gap" between the negotiating parties, which rested on the difference of only a few dozen prisoners.

"Hamas achieved 60 percent of its demands," in the agreement, the source said, adding that the second phase of the deal, which will involve the release of 550 prisoners, will be finalized between Israel and Hamas after Schalit is returned home.

Schalit has reportedly been transferred to Cairo in order to receive medical and identification examinations from Israeli officials before the finalization of the first phase of the deal in which Israel will release 450 Palestinian prisoners and 27 female prisoners. Schalit is expected to be back in Israel by next Tuesday or Wednesday.

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