Hamas blames mediator for stagnation

Hamas blames mediator fo

Senior Damascus-based Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk blamed the German mediator for the stagnation in the negotiations over a prisoner exchange deal that would secure the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, according to an interview published by Al-Hayat on Sunday. "There were certain issues and steps that the mediator should have taken but did not," Marzouk told the newspaper. "There is no deal at the moment," Marzouk said, adding that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was responsible for the situation. "Even [former prime minister Ehud] Olmert did not take talks several steps backwards the way Netanyahu has, but both are not implementing the understandings reached in the negotiations," he reportedly said. "If the talks fail - Netanyahu will be held accountable," Marzouk stressed. He also told Al Hayat that Hamas expects to receive Israel's response to the group's latest counteroffer by Tuesday. Responding to various reports on the issues currently preventing the sides from finalizing a deal, Marzouk said that "all the information leaked to the media is incorrect. The number of those [Palestinian prisoners] which Israel refuses to release is not high."