Israel says it will not show any flexibility in the prisoner swap talks with the Palestinians as tensions between the two sides grow amid Israeli air raids on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the proposal to exchange soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by resistance fighters in Gaza in 2006, for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners is the last of its kind.
The premier said Israel would no longer negotiate on the details of the proposed swap sent to Hamas via a German mediator.
Under widespread criticism from the Israeli public and concerns of a plummeting popularity, Tel Aviv late last year acquiesced to release 450 Palestinian prisoners demanded by Hamas and another 500 as a gesture to the Islamic movement.
It also offered to release four senior Palestinian resistance figures, Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Sa’adat, Ibrahim Hamad and Abdullah Barghouti, on condition that they be deported to the Gaza Strip or a third country.
Netanyahu on Thursday ruled out Hamas’ demands for releasing "heavyweight" prisoners held in Israeli prisons for years, and insisted that allowing some of the prisoners into the occupied West Bank "would jeopardize Israel’s security."
Responding to the remarks, Hamas on Friday stressed it would not give in to Israeli conditions and that it was determined to release all Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
An estimated 11,500 Palestinians, including women, are currently imprisoned in Israeli detention facilities, suffering harsh and life-threatening conditions.