Mashaal: Israel broke promises under Shalit deal
GAZA CITY – Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mashaal on Monday said Israel had broken its promises to improve detainees’ conditions under the last swap deal.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the Egyptian foreign minister in Cairo, Mashaal said the October 2011 deal –which was brokered by Egypt — included pledges to end solitary confinement and other restrictions.
Israel had toughened conditions for Palestinian detainees in a bid to pressure Hamas to release soldier Gilad Shalit. He was freed in October in exchange for 1,047 Palestinian prisoners.
Palestinian detainees launched a mass hunger-strike on April 17 to protest their conditions, with prisoner groups estimating that 2,000 people are now refusing food.
After meeting Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Sunday, the leaders decided to petition the UN on the issue of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israel.
On Monday, Mashaal briefed Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammad Kamel Amr on the situation of Palestinian prisoners.
He thanked Egypt for following up on Palestinian affairs, and stressed the importance of seeing through the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal with rival party Fatah.
The national government headed by President Mahmoud Abbas — as agreed between the leaders in Doha in February — must be put into place immediately, he said.
The Hamas chief’s agreement that the Fatah leader should head the government caused uproar in Hamas ranks, sparking a new impasse for the embattled reconciliation deal.
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