Hamas upset by Fatah prisoner release

Zahar says group will also demand release of prisoners that "would fit" its agenda.

a-zahar, banner 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
a-zahar, banner 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel's plan to release 200 Fatah prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has angered Hamas and could result in a policy change regarding any future prisoner exchange deal with Israel to secure the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar was quoted Tuesday by the London-based Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi as saying that if only Fatah prisoners are released it will convince Hamas to demand the release of prisoners that "would fit" its agenda. "This type of separation in releasing prisoners is saddening," he added. "We, in Hamas, got the message and will act accordingly despite the fact that until now, our policy regarding prisoner releases was unrelated to political factional membership." Meanwhile, Israel Radio reported that Hamas has rejected an Egyptian offer of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. According to Cairo's proposal, reported by Al-Sharq Alawsat on Tuesday, Egypt expressed its willingness to send an Arab force under its command numbering 3,000 people to help maintain order in the Gaza Strip. Fatah also rejected the offer due to one of its major clauses that stipulates that the PLO undergo reforms within four months.