Hamas: Fatah against freeing Barghouti

Official: Fatah brass want to deny achievement from Hamas, afraid Barghouti will threaten their standing.

barghouti 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
barghouti 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Fatah has asked one of the countries mediating a prisoner exchange deal for captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit that Marwan Barghouti be removed from the list of Palestinian prisoners to be released, so that Hamas will not be able to take credit for freeing him, a top-ranking Hamas official said Tuesday. "Senior Fatah people have recently turned to a European country that is serving as a mediator between Hamas and Israel and asked that it remove Marwan Barghouti from the list of Palestinian prisoners that Hamas wants released within the framework of the Schalit deal," Hamas political bureau member Mohammad Nazzal told the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi Tuesday. The objective of the Fatah move was "to deny Hamas an achievement with Barghouti's release." "European countries have recently begun to mediate between Hamas and Israel in order to put together a prisoner release agreement," Nazzal said, but added that Monday's IAF attack on the Gaza Strip, which killed Abu Said Qarmout, the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in northern Gaza, froze the negotiations for Schalit. Hamas, Nazzal said, had told the Europeans that it refused to remove Barghouti from the list. He explained that the Fatah officials who were opposed to Barghouti's release felt that their standing would be threatened once the charismatic leader returned to the ranks of the organization. "Barghouti's release will have a positive impact on the Palestinain public," Nazzal said.