Hamas: Israel offering banned Gaza aid goods in return for Schalit

Israel offered to allow 75% of the goods currently banned from entering Gaza into the Strip in exchange for the release of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Hamas leader Salah Bardawil told the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency on Tuesday evening. The remaining 25% are goods Israel says could be used to make weapons. Speaking from Cairo, where cease-fire talks were being held, Bardawil said Hamas was regarding the Egyptian ceasefire proposal positively. However, he added, Hamas asked for explanations of some Israeli conditions. The Jerusalem Post could not independently confirm the report. "We do not object to a ceasefire in exchange for lifting the siege and opening crossing points. We don't oppose addressing Schalit's case in tandem with ceasefire negotiations, but asked for explanations about the nature of this material Israel won't let in," he added, asserting that Hamas would be ready for a prisoner exchange with Israel from tomorrow. Bardawil added that Hamas would, as a part of a ceasefire, agree to stop firing projectiles into Israel. However, he said Hamas asked for Egypt's help in convincing other factions to restrain themselves. With regards to Israel's demand that Hamas stop smuggling through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, he said Hamas's response is that Hamas is not a state and would need help in clamping down on smuggling. However, Bardawil added, "Hamas won't agree on stopping weapons smuggling into Gaza because that would mean the end of resistance."