Israel paper of record’s analysis of its relations with Hamas.
Ha’aretz – “ANALYSIS: Recognizing that Israel’s Effort to Topple Hamas has Failed” – 27 Jan 09:
Hamas Monday rejected an Israeli offer that linked the opening of Gaza’s border crossings to the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Haaretz that under no circumstances would the organization accept such a linkage. First, Israel must open the crossings, he said; then the parties can talk about Shalit.
A senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, Ayman Taha, told the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram that Israel had offered to free 1,000 Palestinian prisoners and open the crossings in exchange for a cease-fire and Shalit’s release. The Lebanese paper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, citing Israeli sources, said the offer was for 1,050 prisoners, including 280 of the 350 senior terrorists whose release Hamas has demanded by name. Prior to the Gaza operation, Israel had agreed to release only some 220 people on this list.
In practice, the talks have been stalled in any case by a dispute between Hamas and Egypt, the chief mediator, over the former’s rejection of the latter’s proposals for a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and a long-term truce with Israel. And defense sources said it was “not certain” that the figures given by the Arab newspapers would indeed be the final formula. [read the full article]