The Shin Bet security service placed two of the most senior Hamas prisoners in solitary confinement four months ago, after they led a hard-line approach against the impending exchange deal for Gilad Shalit. Yihye Sanwar was one of the founders of the Hamas military wing and was imprisoned in 1989 for murdering Palestinian collaborators with Israel. He was considered the leader of the Hamas prisoners. Sanwar and Zaher Jabrin, one of the founders of the Hamas military arm in the West Bank and imprisoned in 1993 for the murder of Israeli soldier Giti Avishar, were placed in solitary confinement.
Since Shalit's abduction, Sanwar and Jabrin led the hard-line opposition to any flexibility on a deal for Shalit. Sanwar was quoted numerous times in the Arab press as saying that without the release of all the senior prisoners, no deal would be reached. The two were furious when they learned a few months ago that Hamas was willing to compromise. The Shin Bet realized from listening to their phone calls from the prison that the two were putting on pressure against a compromise. As a result, the two were confined in June.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau represented such isolation as hardening the conditions of imprisonment for Hamas prisoners, but as more details concerning the Shalit deal emerge, it turns out that the real reason was to prevent them interfering.
Sanwar and Jabrin were released to Gaza as part of the Shalit deal. Sanwar was the speaker on behalf of the prisoners at the central rally in Gaza after the release. "We feel we have left our hearts behind, we left many prisoners behind," he told the crowd.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now