Hamas Stressed Out on Shalit

Hamas shows stress in its media campaign: It issued a report that Shalit is well while an internal dispute rages on a terrorist-release deal.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 10:12

Shalit on video and terrorists
Shalit on video and terrorists
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Hamas has returned to its usual last-minute hesitation before ceasefire and terrorist-release deals are completed or wrecked and is showing signs of tension. Meanwhile, Noam Shalit, the father of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, is trying to pressure Cabinet ministers to back a proposal to release up to 1,400 terrorists and prisoners for the release of his son – if the issue ever reaches the Cabinet.

In Gaza, the Hamas website is clamming up. It quoted one of its leaders, Ayman Taha, as denying all statements about the negotiations that were attributed to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by Israeli media. “He stressed that his movement would not divulge any information about the deal, emphasizing that the media blackout on news of the deal was part of the ongoing negotiations.” according to Hamas.

The terrorist organization issued an unusual statement, timed to pressure Israel into accepting its demands for the return of Shalit, and said the soldier is in good condition. Hamas, contravening the Geneva Convention international law, has not allowed Red Cross officials to examine him since he was kidnapped more than three years ago.

However, an agreeement that Israeli media promoted as a near certainty now is in doubt again. Khaled Mashaal, the Syrian-based director of the Hamas terrorist organization, has canceled a trip to Mecca so he can take charge of negotiations through Egypt and a German mediator while prospects of an imminent conclusion to negotiations have faded.

"Accomplishing the swap within one week is unexpected, it is almost impossible," one source close to negotiations told the Chinese news agency Xinhua. "Differences between the two sides are still going on, involving a big number of prisoners from Gaza, the West Bank and those who live in the 1948 territories (Israel)," the source added.

The London-based Al Hayat Arabic-language newspaper reported that Hamas is split over whether to insist on all of its demands from Israel or to compromise on which terrorists are to be released and where they are to be sent. In the last proposal, which ended in failure last year, Israel refused to allow “heavy” terrorists to return to Judea and Samaria.

Reports that a deal hinged on the release of one terrorist fell apart Tuesday amid statements from Hamas sources that Israel and Hamas disagree regarding a list of 40 terrorists among those to be freed. Another issue clouded in confusion is whether the deal will include Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life prison sentences for planning suicide and other deadly terrorist attacks on Israelis.

Meanwhile, Shalit’s father Noam and other members of the family are to meet Wednesday with Cabinet ministers Yuval Steinitz and Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beiteinu) and leading rabbis in an effort to convince them to free terrorists “with blood on their hands.”