Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

‘Hamas agrees to demand that Schalit deal precede cease-fire’

Posted by Andrea Pompozzi su 17 febbraio, 2009

Feb. 17, 2009

Hamas has no objection to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s demand that a deal for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Scahlit be finalized before a cease-fire agreement, as long as Israel releases all of the prisoners on Hamas’s list, a senior member of the organization was quoted by the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat as saying Tuesday.

Olmert’s spokesman Mark Regev told the paper that Israel hoped that Schalit’s return would also help promote the truce. “If the Schalit issue is resolved we can also bring about an advancement of other issues,” Regev was quoted by Al-Hayat as saying.

According to the Hamas official, the organization’s delegation to Cairo has requested that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman apprise the other Palestinian factions of the details of the emerging agreements with Israel in order to ensure that they accept the terms of the cease-fire.

The security cabinet is set to convene Wednesday morning in order to decide on Israel’s final stance on a deal that would see the release of Schalit.

During a tour of the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem Tuesday, Olmert said that he hoped an agreement to secure Schalit’s release would be finalized soon.

“We will make a decision on this [on Wednesday], and I hope these decisions will be a basis with which to facilitate a solution within a short period of time – even if it’s not within the term of the present government,” he said.

“I hope the issue will be finalized soon,” he added.

The prime minister also reiterated previous comments to the effect that the soldier’s release is at the top of Israel’s list of priorities, along with halting terrorist rocket fire from Gaza and arms smuggling into the Strip.

On Sunday night, Olmert said that Israel would not reopen Gaza’s border crossings until Schalit was freed, reiterating a change of policy that he articulated in a statement from his office on Saturday.

“We will not allow the opening of the crossings to Gaza, to the extent that it will bring back life to normal, certainly not before Gilad Schalit is home,” Olmert said in an address to a delegation of American Jewish leaders visiting Jerusalem.

On Saturday night, with rumors swirling that Israel and Hamas were just hours away from a cease-fire deal, Osama Hamdan, a Hamas representative in Lebanon, said that Israel’s insistence on including Schalit’s release in any truce agreement with his organization was jeopardizing the chances of reaching such an agreement, Reuters reported.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report




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