Saturday, January 2, 2010
Hamas: We won't wage media war with Israel over Shalit deal
Hamas will not engage in media battles with Israel over the prisoner exchange deal to free abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, a senior official from the Islamist group said Saturday, according to a report in London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat.
The official, who remained anonymous, said Hamas is not interested in opening a "media front" in its conflict with Israel. He added that Hamas is changing tactics regarding prisoner exchanges, saying the group plans to avoid discussion of points of contention with Israel in the media.
He added, however, that the deal is in the final stages of negotiation and that its completion seems promising.
Hamas officials in Syria on Thursday completed their consultations in Damascus over Israel's offer for a prisoner exchange deal. According to the Al-Hayat report, the officials decided not to reject the Israeli offer outright, but to continue to a next round of German-mediated negotiations.
Reports earlier this week indicated there is still disagreement over some prisoners Hamas wants released and over how many of those freed will be exiled from the Palestinain territories.
Israel is reportedly still refusing to release 22 Palestinian prisoners involved in some of the worst terror attacks, including Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Sa'adat, and two of the heads of Hamas' military wing in the West Bank, Ibrahim Hamad and Abdullah Barghouti, who are responsible for the murders of dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings.