By JPOST.COM STAFFPublished: JANUARY 8, 2010 11:29Advertisement
Hamas on Friday said it would not give in to Israeli demands in talks to release captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, and claimed that Israel would eventually accept all the group's demands.
"Anyone who thinks Hamas is in a weak position in the prisoner exchange negotiations is wrong. Israel will eventually lose the nerve-racking game, and will accept all of the conditions set by Hamas for Schalit's release," Army Radio quoted a Hamas source as saying.
The Hamas source was responding to reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had indicated that he will show no more flexibility in negotiations to free Schalit.
Netanyahu reportedly stressed that his point man in talks to free the captured soldier, Hagai Hadas, would be given no more wiggle room beyond the mandate he has received.
"The prime minister insists that dangerous terrorists, as well as those who committed murder by their own hands, will not be released to locations from which they will endanger the lives of Israeli citizens," sources close to the premier were quoted by local media as saying Thursday.
An activist from The Campaign to Free Gilad Schalit, Yoel Marshak, said on Friday that if the negotiations fail, his organization would turn directly to officials in Gaza in efforts to release the soldier.
"There are still significant disagreements over the deal and we know what they areâ€¦ We know how to directly contact Gaza officials - the leadership and the public must be connected, because the public wants this deal over with," he reportedly said.
However, a spokesman from The Campaign to Free Gilad Schalit told Israel Radio that the Schalit family and the organization would not make any decisions until they had the chance to study Netanyahu's announcement more closely.
Gilad's father, Noam, said that now was time for actions and not for words.
On Tuesday, the German mediator working on the prisoner exchange deal was in the Gaza Strip to hear the Islamist group's response to Israel's latest proposal.
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar met with the mediator to update him on the results of recent consultations with the group's top leadership in Damascus.
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