Hamas presents condition for deal with Israel

Deputy chairman of Palestinian parliament: Resistance will not approve exchange deal before rearrested are freed.

Dalit Halevi ,

Protests along Gaza border
Protests along Gaza border
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Ahmed Bahar, deputy chairman of the Palestinian parliament and a senior member of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, said on Sunday that the Palestinian “resistance groups” would not approve any prisoner exchange deal with Israel before terrorists who were freed in the Shalit deal and were rearrested by Israel are released from Israeli prisons.

Bahar's remarks were made in a speech he gave at an event organized by the Al-Ahrar movement in Gaza. The Al-Ahrar movement split 11 years ago from Fatah and is now identified as a Hamas ally.

Israel freed more than 1,000 terrorists in 2011 in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. However, many of them have since been rearrested after it was discovered that they had returned to terrorist activities after their release.

Hamas has been holding the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

In addition, two Israeli civilians who went missing in Gaza - Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed - are believed to be held by Hamas as well.

Recent reports indicated that Hamas has told Egypt it is prepared to make a “comprehensive deal” with Israel that will include returning the Israelis it is holding in Gaza in exchange for the establishment of an airport and seaport.

In his remarks on Sunday, Bahar also referenced the idea of ​​a humanitarian solution to Gaza as discussed as part of the contacts held by American representatives in the region, saying that the Palestinian parliament welcomes any humanitarian aid that will ease the suffering of the Palestinian people, but only on condition that no political price is paid for this assistance.

He stressed that the Palestinian people and the “resistance organizations” will not allow the "Deal of the Century", the name of the American peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to go through. Bahar said the Palestinian people have the right to defend their rights, country and holy places by all available means, including an armed struggle.

"It is inconceivable that we will agree to exchange part of our land in exchange for other land in preparation for any American or regional plans in the region...The Palestinian people are struggling to take back their land Palestine and not to replace it with other land," he said.