Hamas: Olmert preventing Schalit deal

Hamas says PM is weak and irresolute; assures Schalit wouldn't be harmed if IDF invades.

Gilad Schalit 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gilad Schalit 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is responsible for the prolonged captivity of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Hamas official Mahmoud Nazal said in an interview published on Sunday by the London-based newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi. "The irresolute and weak personality of Ehud Olmert is preventing the formation of a deal which would lead to the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit," Nazal said. Nazal added that the reason there was nothing new to report on the matter was due entirely to the "stubbornness of Israel," which, he said, was responsible for delaying the soldier's release. However, the Hamas official did confirm that negotiations were ongoing through the moderation of a third party, and he assured that the growing fear of an IDF incursion into the Gaza Strip should not in any way translate into an Israeli fear for the life of Schalit. "Israel is hesitant to invade the Strip and not because they fear for Schalit's life," Nazal continued. "Given the fact that Schalit's kidnappers are guarding his life, Israel knows that it's almost impossible that he would be hurt." But Nazal warned that "Israeli commanders know that an Israeli invasion into the Gaza Strip is not a child's game. They will pay a heavy price." Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that Israel was doing its utmost to secure the release of the soldiers. "I promise that we are doing everything possible in order to bring the abducted soldiers home," Army Radio quoted Barak as saying. Barak was responding to Karnit Goldwasser, wife of Ehud Goldwasser, who accused him on Saturday of not doing enough for the abducted soldiers. "We are toiling day and night to bring the boys back home," Barak said. "I believe that the less we talk about these efforts, the sooner we will be able to bring them home."