Hamas freezes negotiations for Schalit

Abu Marzuk: Israel violating truce; official says J'lem will be "more flexible" after Hizbullah deal.

gilad schalit 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
gilad schalit 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Hamas on Friday announced that it was suspending all negotiations with Israel over the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. The deputy head of Hamas's political bureau, Mussa Abu Marzuk, said that the talks were being frozen because Israel was not displaying commitment to the truce agreement with his organization in Gaza. Abu Marzuk told the London-based daily Al Hayat that Hamas would not send a delegation to the talks slated to take place in Cairo. He claimed that Israel was not living up to its obligations under the cease-fire and was closing the passages to the Strip. "It does not make any sense that we should open negotiations while Israel does not honor the truce," Abu Marzuk said. "The issue will be postponed until the Egyptians invest the efforts together with the Israelis - in order to honor the truce agreement - open the crossings and prevent Muhammad Dahlan and Fatah from sabotaging the truce deal." Abu Marzuk did not specify what Israeli truce violations he was referring to. Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the closure of all crossings into the Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon in response to a Kassam rocket attack earlier in the day. The crossings will remain closed on Friday, officials said. They were reopened on Wednesday, after they were closed for two days due to rocket and mortar attacks earlier in the week. The Kassam rocket fired Thursday struck near a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. No casualties or damage was reported. Another senior activist in the organization was quoted by the paper as saying that "After the prisoner swap deal between Israel and Lebanon, according to which Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar is slated to go free, Israel is expected to display greater flexibility in talks over a prisoner swap with Hamas." The report also quoted senior Egyptian officials as saying that Hamas had been invited to Cairo next week to discuss the swap with Israel. According to the officials, Egypt was investing great efforts in trying to hammer out a deal. Abu Marzuk confirmed that his organization had indeed been invited to participate in a round of talks. Yaakov Katz contributed to this report