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Shalit deal after demands met: Hamas

5 May 2010 6:04

Hamas says Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will not be released unless Palestinian prisoners whose release has been demanded by the resistance movement are freed.

Gaza’s Justice Minister Faraj al-Ghoul said on Tuesday that the failure of all talks on a potential prisoner swap deal proved resistance was the only means to secure the release of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.

Speaking at a festival entitled “Pledge for Jerusalem (al-Quds) and Loyalty for Detainees,” the Hamas official recalled UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s refusing to meet the families of Palestinian detainees during a visit to the Gaza Strip but deciding to meet with the Shalit’s family.

Ghoul described the move as an indication of “international racial discrimination against the prisoners’ cause.”

He also criticized Arab leaders for their inaction regarding the plight of the Palestinians, saying that Arab support for Palestinian prisoners appeared to be lacking.

Tel Aviv late last year agreed to release 450 Palestinian prisoners demanded by Hamas.

But it offered to release four senior Palestinian resistance figures, Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Sa’adat, Ibrahim Hamad and Abdullah Barghouti, only on the condition that the influential prisoners were deported to the Gaza Strip or a third country.

Hamas rejected the exile of the Palestinian detainees and vowed it would not give in to Israeli demands.

More than 7,000 Palestinians, including women and children, are currently held in Israeli detention facilities, suffering harsh and life-threatening conditions.

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