PA columnist: Shalit deal motivates kidnappings and strengthens Hamas
Hani Al-Masri, senior PA leader, writer and political commentator:
Headline: "The effect of the prisoner exchange deal on the Palestinian map"
"The degree of influence of the prisoner exchange deal [on Palestinian society] is dependent on the conditions of the deal and whether it follows Israel's criteria, which include not freeing those serving lengthy prison terms ("whose hands are stained with blood") [parentheses in original] ...
The information thus far shows that Israel's criteria have largely been shattered, while the Palestinian criteria have been breached to a lesser degree...
Completing the deal according to Palestinian criteria means:
a. Israel understands only the language of force, since kidnapping is the only thing that leaves open the gates of hope for freedom for prisoners with long prison terms. This encourages others towards self-sacrifice for the sake of the homeland and to respond to the mandatory call to resist the occupation and to cause it loss of life.
b. Israel was forced to negotiate - even if indirectly - with a Palestinian organization that refuses to recognize it and to stop its (violent) resistance, and does not accept the Quartet's conditions. This will weaken Israel's ability to object to European, American and international contacts and meetings with the Hamas movement.
c. The Hamas movement's success in completing the prisoner exchange will deal it an important hand that will improve its internal [Palestinian] position, especially since the [exchange] deal occurs at a time when the bilateral negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] have reached a dead end."
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