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Mahmoud al-Zahar: Hamas is ready for a new «Shalit deal»

One of the leaders of Hamas, Mahmoud al-Zahar said on Monday, April 17, that the leadership of this organization is ready to negotiate with Israel for the conclusion of new transactions about the «prisoner exchange», analogous to the «Shalit deal».

The corresponding statement was made in interview to Agency «Watania» and cited by many Arab and Israeli media.

Zahar stressed that Hamas will seek the release from Israeli prisons of elderly and sick prisoners.

However, he did not explain whether it is about trying to negotiate with Israel about the exchange of prisoners in several Israeli civilians, likely held in Gaza, or about the intention of Hamas to carry out another operation to capture the Israelites.

The statement of AZ-Zahara was made in commentary about the mass hunger strike detainees in Israeli prisons.

Mahmoud al-Zahar. Quick reference

Mahmoud al-Zahar was born in 1945. His father was a Palestinian Arab mother is an Egyptian.

At the age of 26 he graduated from Cairo University, faculty of medicine. Then received a degree in General surgery from the University of ain Shams in Cairo. Then returned to Gaza where he became Advisor to the Minister of health. In 1978 he was one of the founders of the Islamic University in Gaza, where he taught surgery. A colleague of al-Zahara Islamic University was Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, who taught Pediatrics.

In 1987, al-Zahar and al-Rantisi was in the initiative group, under the spiritual guidance of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, which, with the assistance of the Egyptian «Muslim brotherhood», founded by the Palestinian «Islamic resistance movement» (Hamas).

Note that, formally, Zahar cannot be considered one of the founders of Hamas, as he was not a party to the constituent Assembly of 1987. Participants of the meeting, Hamas called «the seven Mujahideen». These were: Sheikh Ahmad Yassin (liquidated in March 2004), his assistant Dr. Abd al-Aziz Rantisi (abolished in April 2004), Sheikh Salah shade (abolished in July 2002), Dr. Ibrahim al-Jazur, Issa an-Nashar (who later became mayor of Rafah), Abd al-Fattah Dukhan and Muhammad Hassan Shama (died June 2011).

However, in 1989, the year of AZ-Zahar was elected to the Hamas leadership.

Zahar many years was the permanent representative of Hamas in talks with other Palestinian factions (particularly Hamas was represented in the negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization in January 1990).

In December 1992, for terrorist activities, he was expelled by the Israeli authorities (along with 300 terrorists) in the Lebanese refugee camp of Marj al-Zuhur. After the start of the «peace process» (1993) returned to the Gaza strip. Was a participant in a private meeting with the then Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin.

In June 2003, together with Ismail Abu Sanbom (destroyed in August 2003) represented Hamas in the negotiations with the Palestinian authority government.

Zahar is considered one of the leaders of the «political wing of Hamas,» was «foreign Minister» of this organization. In numerous interviews he has repeatedly stated, he is a member of the «ideological front» and not the «Izaddina Brigades of al-Qassam.» However, Israeli intelligence agencies believe his involvement in the planning of terrorist attacks is obvious. September 10, 2003, the Israeli military attempted to destroy al-Zahara. He was wounded, but survived (then killed his son Khalid). In 2008, in a clash with Israeli troops was killed by another son AZ-Zahara – Hussam, who was a militant «Brigades of al-kasama».

In recent years, Mahmoud al-Zahar did not hold any formal positions in the government created by Hamas in the Gaza strip. He preferred the role of informal «management representative» Hamas in Gaza. Was a participant in the negotiations with the «Muslim brotherhood» after they came to power in Egypt. After the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian military authorities have accused al-Zahar of involvement in terrorist activities and stripped of his Egyptian citizenship.

Mahmoud al-Zahar: Hamas is ready for a new «Shalit deal» 17.04.2017

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