Israel and Hamas have reportedly been engaged in “intensive indirect talks” recently over possible deal to release a number of Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel in exchange for Israelis held by Hamas in the besieged Gaza Strip, Israel’s Channel 1 reported Monday.
The report, according to a translation by Times of Israel, said that the talks were being mediated by an unnamed third party, and gathered momentum over the past two weeks after Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar returned from a diplomatic visit to Cairo earlier this month, when Sinwar notably met with sacked Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan.
In February, Hamas confirmed that it had been engaged in talks through third-party mediators over a possible prisoners’ exchange agreement, but said a deal had been rejected for not meeting its minimum demands.
— Gaza Report (@gaza_report) June 25, 2017
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasim said at the time that the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas and the body responsible for prisoners exchange negotiations with Israel, said what Israel was offering did not “meet even the minimum demands made by the resistance.”
“Statements of Israeli leaders are just part of their lies directed at the families of the imprisoned Israeli soldiers to convince them they are putting in efforts to bring them back,” he said.
— Pal_st (@Stefaniafodd) June 28, 2017
Aside from two soldiers, Hamas also claims to hold the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were pronounced dead by Israel during the 2014 war in Gaza, though Hamas has never explicitly said whether the two Israeli soldiers were alive or dead.
According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, some 6,200 Palestinians were held in Israeli custody as of May.
(Maan, PC, Social Media)