Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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

Israel Arrests 10 Hamas Leaders

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 19 marzo, 2009

JERUSALEM — Israel arrested 10 Hamas leaders in the West Bank late Wednesday and early Thursday, including four legislators, in what Hamas said was an attempt to put pressure on the organization after the collapse of negotiations for the release of a captive Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

The Israeli military described the men who were detained as “leaders of the ongoing efforts to restore the administrative branch of the Hamas terror organization in the region.” A spokesman would not comment on any possible link to the Shalit affair.

Israel’s departing prime minister, Ehud Olmert, had hoped to secure Corporal Shalit’s release before leaving office. Mr. Olmert is to be succeeded by Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the conservative Likud Party, who has until early April to form a new governing coalition.

In return for Corporal Shalit, who was seized by Hamas and other Palestinian militants in a cross-border raid and taken into Gaza in 2006, Hamas demands the release of 450 Palestinians in Israeli jails, including many convicted of deadly attacks on Israelis. But intensive talks held through Egyptian mediators ended this week without an agreement, and Mr. Olmert said Tuesday that his government would not accede to all of Hamas’s demands.

Officials here said that Israel was prepared to release some 325 of those requested by Hamas, including many convicted killers. Israel demanded that many of them be confined to Gaza, where Hamas holds sway, or be expelled abroad.

But Mr. Olmert said that there were red lines that Israel could not cross, and that some of the prisoners on the Hamas list were considered too dangerous to release. Among them, Israel named 10 prisoners convicted of organizing suicide bombings that have killed scores of Israelis since 2001. The attacks singled out crowded cafes, a hotel where a Passover meal was taking place, a popular disco and a university campus.

Mr. Olmert said the efforts to release the Israeli soldier would not cease. But the handling of the case will probably fall to the next government, which may take a harder line in any further negotiations.

Hamas said Thursday in a statement that Israel’s arrests of Hamas leaders and lawmakers in the West Bank were “an attempt to blackmail the resistance and achieve gains in the prisoner case.”

A committee led by the Israeli justice minister, Daniel Friedmann, is also examining the possibility of limiting the privileges of Hamas prisoners in Israel, like visiting hours and access to television and study programs.

The military said those detained overnight were “taken for questioning by security forces.”

Among those arrested was Nasser Eddin al-Shaer, an academic from Nablus in the West Bank. Mr. Shaer served as education minister and deputy prime minister in the Hamas-led government that was formed after the Islamist group won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006.

His wife, Huda al-Shaer, said that soldiers arrived at their Nablus home around 2 a.m. and stayed for about an hour before taking Mr. Shaer away. Speaking by telephone, Ms. Shaer said she had asked the soldiers why he was being arrested, “but they told me it was not my business.”

Some 40 Hamas legislators have been arrested by Israel since Corporal Shalit’s capture in June 2006; many of them remain in jail.

Mr. Shaer had already been arrested twice during this period, spending a total of about four months in prison, his wife said.




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