Hamas Rejects Israel's Prisoner Swap Offer
Netanyahu won’t release militants on Hamas’s list due to threat of terror.
Hamas militants have declined Israel’s newest offer of 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, it has been reported.
The offer was put forth by Prime Minister Netanyahu on the fourth anniversary of Shalit’s capture in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Netanyahu flat out rejected, however, Hamas’s request to release dozens of top militants responsible for the deadliest terrorist attacks, referring to them as "mass murderers." He said releasing this type of prisoner in the past has only led to new waves of terrorism.
Hamas maintained that there will be no deal until Israel releases all of the prisoners on their list.
Hamas official Ayman Taha said Netanyahu and his government are facing growing public pressure to free Shalit, and the new offer is an attempt to shift the blame, and the accompanying negative attention, onto Hamas.
Taha referred to a 12-day march to Jerusalem led by Shalit’s family, aimed at garnering the government’s attention in the hopes it would result in an expedited prisoner swap. Noam Shalit, the soldier's father, accused the prime minister of using scare tactics.
He added that surely Israeli intelligence and defense forces are capable of dealing with any terror threat posed by the release of those prisoners on Hamas’s list.
Israel has, in the past, engaged in rather uneven prisoner swaps, though Netanyahu vows he will not make that same mistake again.
"The state of Israel is prepared to pay a heavy price to win the release of Gilad Shalit," said Israel's Prime Minister, "but that does not mean, any price."