Haniyeh says Shalit deal ‘national achievement’

Ma’an News Agency | Oct 18, 2012

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Prime Minister of the Hamas government in Gaza told an anniversary rally on Thursday that the prisoner swap deal for a captured Israeli soldier was a national achievement.

The Oct. 2011 deal freed over 1,000 Palestinians from Israeli jail in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured in 2006 and held in Gaza.

At the anniversary celebrations, Ismail Haniyeh said the release of prisoners was not just a victory for the militants that took Shalit, but all Palestinians and Muslim nations.

The welfare of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel is not a partisan issue, but concerns the whole nation, he said, stressing that prisoners are held because of their defense of all Palestinian people.

He called for a complete national strategy to free all Palestinians, based on ending the division between his government and the Fatah-dominated authority in the West Bank.

A national program must defend the choice of resistance, and make prisoners a top priority, he said.

The spokesman of Hamas’ armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, earlier on Thursday pledged further prisoner exchanges.

“This swap deal will not be the last. We will always act in order to secure the release of all detainees,” Abu Obaida said.

Related: Prisoners Release in pictures – Oct 18, 2011 | Dec 18, 2011

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