What the Prisoner Release Revealed

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Remarks by Palestinian Arab leadership following Tuesday's prisoner exchange don't bode well for peaceful coexistence with Israel.

For example, the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency reported that Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh delivered a fiery proclamation claiming Tuesday's events represented a "strategic turning point" in the struggle "against the Zionist enemy."

The Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, supported, armed and trained by Iran.

Flanked by portraits of senior terrorists not included in the prisoner exchange, Haniyeh promised more "will be released soon."

"We kiss the hands and foreheads of the Palestinian resistance," he said and thanked Egypt for its role in setting the "brave prisoners" free.

With the crowd chanting, "We want a new Gilad [Shalit]," Haniyeh said Palestinian factions working together were responsible for the victory they were celebrating.

Meanwhile in Ramallah, P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas called the released terrorists "freedom fighters and holy warriors for the sake of Allah and the homeland."

"We hope soon to see [Marwan] Barghouti and [Ahmad] Sa'adat, as well as every prisoner freed," he told the cheering crowd.

Barghouti is serving five consecutive life sentences for masterminding multiple terror attacks in the first and second intifadas (armed Palestinian uprisings). Sa'adat, convicted of orchestrating the 2001 assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, was sentenced to 30 years.

On Tuesday, Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal invited Abbas to meet him in Cairo next week to implement the stalled reconciliation agreement signed by the two rival factions last May.

Though Hamas doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist and the P.A.'s official logo deletes Israel from the map, world leaders nevertheless believe the prisoner exchange will reinvigorate negotiations for a two-state solution.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday's event offered "a glimmer of hope" in the stalled talks, Reuters reported.

"In particular, we believe Israel should be ready to make a more decisive offer than Israeli leaders have made in recent years on the peace process to give talks a chance of success," Hague said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon predicted the release would have a "far-reaching positive impact to the stalled Middle East peace process."

It appears, however, that neither Fatah nor Hamas leaders are ready to share such a lofty goal; rather, they seem to view Israel's rebirth as a temporary blip on the map of the Middle East.

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CBN News
Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.