Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), told Al Jazeera that his movement is capable of forcing Israel to enter into a deal to release Palestinian prisoners, and Haniyeh denied the existence of any divisions or currents within Hamas.
Haniyeh pledged – in an interview with Ali al-Dhafiri’s “The Interview” program broadcast today on Al-Jazeera channel – that among them the six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison on the sixth of last September, before being re-arrested by the occupation authorities.
Haniyeh added that the Al-Qassam Brigades keep 4 captured soldiers inside Gaza, and if Israel is not convinced of reaching a deal, Hamas and the Al-Qassam Brigades will force it and increase the yield through its extended arms everywhere, as he put it.
Divisions and Iran
In another context, the head of Hamas’ political bureau denied the existence of divisions or currents within the movement, explaining the commitment of all leadership levels to the decisions that are being taken through the movement’s political institutions.
The resignation of a prominent member of the occupation negotiating team regarding the prisoner exchange deal..an indication that the price on the table is very, very high, so they had good tidings of the resistance and they are the best who fulfilled the promises ✌️
— Rula Hassanein (@rulahassaneen) December 28, 2021
Regarding Hamas’ relationship with Iran, Haniyeh defended this relationship, stressing that the support the movement receives from it or from others is unconditional, stressing the movement’s openness to establishing relations with all Arab and Islamic countries.
Hamas keeps 4 Israelis, including two soldiers who were captured during the Battle of the Eaten Storm and the war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, without disclosing their fate, while the Israeli army considers the two soldiers dead.
And circles close to Hamas’ discussions with Egyptian officials regarding a possible prisoner exchange deal with Israel revealed to Al Jazeera Net last October that Hamas rejects any bargaining on “some names of prisoners”, as well as rejects the “Israeli veto” on those whom Israel describes as “They have blood on their hands,” and they are prisoners of high prison sentences, whom you accuse of being responsible for carrying out attacks that killed Israelis.
Al Jazeera Net learned from identical Palestinian and Egyptian sources that Hamas handed the Egyptians a “clear and comprehensive vision”, and confirmed its readiness to move forward immediately in order to complete an exchange deal if Israel responded to its vision and demands.
According to this scenario, Hamas requires the release of 48 prisoners of the “Wafa Al-Ahrar” deal, known as the “Shalit deal”, who were re-arrested by Israel, a condition that the movement adheres to as a basis that must be implemented before commencing the negotiations of the New Deal.
Hamas also set the release of the six prisoners – whom Israel re-arrested after their success in escaping from Gilboa prison – as a condition for the completion of the deal.
Hamas insists on releasing prisoners, believing that “the exchange deal is a rare opportunity for them to be liberated from the prisons of the occupation.”
On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated a few months ago that he has always opposed the release of those responsible for killing Israelis. Some Israeli media reported that the Tel Aviv government is ready to release children, women, and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who are sick and on light sentences, or those who do not have much of their sentences left, in exchange for liberating its prisoners with Hamas.