Renewed in recent weeks indirect contacts between “Hamas” movement and the Israeli occupation to discuss a prisoner exchange deal, after months of stopping, according to “Walla” website, on Sunday evening.
The site’s military correspondent, Amir Bouhoub, claimed that the contacts are being mediated by “regional parties,” “with the aim of exploiting the elections in Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reach a plan” that would allow the return of captured Israelis in the Gaza Strip.
Security sources stated to the website that the “Hamas” movement insists on the release of “prisoners who carried out operations that led to the killing of settlers.”
The sources added that the aim of renewing contacts is to show “Hamas” that there is an open door for negotiations, despite “the difficult political period for the two sides.”
Early this month, Hamas said that the issue of the Israeli detainees held by the Al-Qassam Brigades, the movement’s military arm, was “linked to an exchange.”
This came in a statement by Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem, in response to statements by the Israeli Minister of Security, Benny Gantz, in which he stipulated that “Hamas” return four Israelis it is holding in the Gaza Strip “in order to allow development to take place in Gaza.”
“The Zionist leadership is fully aware that the issue of the captured soldiers at the Al-Qassam Brigades is linked to an exchange process,” Qassem said, adding that “it is clear that the Israeli government is not ready to pay the price of the exchange deal, so it resorts to such statements.”
And Qassem added, “The families of the captured soldiers of the Al-Qassam Brigades must move to pressure their government to enter into an exchange deal.”
Gantz’s statements came during his inspection of the Gaza military division deployed on the borders of the Strip, in which he said that if Hamas returns the Israeli prisoners and missing persons, Israel will allow “expanding trade and the economy and changing the lifestyle of the residents of the Gaza Strip.”
Al-Qassam Brigades is holding 4 Israelis, including two soldiers, who were captured during the war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, while the other two entered Gaza in unclear circumstances during the past years.