Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Zahhar: “Swap-deal Includes Lifting The Siege On Gaza”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 09:08 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Hamas political leader, Mahmoud Zahhar, told Israeli daily, Haaretz, that the prisoner-swap deal reached indirectly reached between Hamas and Israel includes lifting the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
Mahmoud Zahhar - File Image - Islam Times
Mahmoud Zahhar - File Image - Islam Times

Zahhar added that this issue was agreed upon when the German mediator started his role in the swap talks. “This is still valid under the current agreement”, he said.

The Hamas leader further stated that the deal to release prisoner-of-war Gilad Shalit, in return for releasing more than a thousand Palestinian detainees, also includes a section obliging Israel to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian detainees, adding that Gaza Strip families of the detainees will be allow to visit their beloved one.

After Shalit was captured on June 26, 2006, Israel canceled all visitation rights to Gaza Strip families of political prisoners.

Zahhar also said that Israel will also have to ease the restrictions on border terminals leading to Gaza, including travel from Gaza to the West Bank via Israel.

He stated that the deal also includes increasing the exports of the Gaza Strip to Israel and abroad.

Meanwhile, officials at the Israeli Defense Ministry stated that the Shalit deal represents a shift in the relations between Hamas and Israel, adding that, in recent months, Israel started easing the siege on Gaza as part of an unofficial ceasefire between Hamas and Tel Aviv.