Damascus Hamas against, Gaza Hamas for swap deal

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas leaders in Damascus are against Israel’s latest offer in a prisoner swap deal, but the organization’s Gaza members want to accept, an Arabic newspaper reported.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat, a London-based, pan-Arabic newspaper, reported Friday that Israel’s latest offer delivered from Israel to Hamas by a German mediator is not acceptable to Hamas leaders in Damascus.

The deal would see hundreds of Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli prisons in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

But Israel has reportedly refused to release a reported nine senior leaders of Hamas who were involved in the killing of Israelis. The deal has also been held up by Israel’s insistence that about120 prisoners serving life sentences for killing Israelis not be permitted to return to their homes in the West Bank and instead be deported to Gaza or abroad.

"Israel will wait a long time if it fails to pay the price for the release of Shalit," a Hamas source told the Arabic newspaper. 

Damascus also reportedly is against having the prisoners deported outside of the West Bank or Gaza,
 

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