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Hamas rejects Israel’s conditions January 29, 2009

Posted by ibrahimbaba in Palestine.
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Thu, 29 Jan 2009 00:21:09 GMT (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=84008&sectionid=351020202)

Khalid Mashaal, Hamas’s political leader

Hamas’s political leader Khalid Mashaal has rejected conditions set by Israel for a long-term truce with the Islamic movement.

“We were recently informed of (Israel’s) conditions for calm … We reject these Israeli conditions. We will not accept them,” Mashaal said in Doha on Wednesday.

The remarks were made after outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said Tel Aviv would open the crossings with Gaza only if Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit was released.

Schalit was captured by Palestinian fighters in a cross border operation in June 2006.

“In response to the child killer, Olmert,” Mashaal said, “I say to you in the name of Hamas and in the name of the heroes who are holding Schalit, we will not accept that crossings be opened in return for Schalit.”

He reiterated that Schalit would only be released in exchange for the Palestinian prisoners whose names were given to Ofer Dekel, the former Israeli coordinator of the issue.

Salah el-Bardawil, a member of the Hamas delegation who is currently in Cairo for peace talks also rejected Israel’s demand.

“If they want to release Schalit, they have to pay a price in return… the 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails waiting to be released,” he said.

The Hamas delegation has offered a year-long truce but demanded “guarantees that Israel shows commitment to lift the siege and completely reopen crossings.”

Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the costal sliver on December 27. At least 1,330 Palestinians died during the offensive, while some 5,450 others were reported wounded.