Hamas: Five countries have tried and failed to mediate prisoner exchange with Israel

Germany, Qatar, Sweden and Turkey had all recently joined Egypt’s ongoing efforts, but all fell due to Israel, official says.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Hamas official told Palestinian media on Thursday that five countries had recently tried and failed to mediate a prisoner swap between the terrorist organization and Israel, laying the blame in part on the political impasse in the Jewish state.

The countries Musa Dudin named are widely diverse, as he said that Egypt’s lead in the issue was joined by Sweden and Germany, but also Turkey, whose relationship with Israel has soured greatly, and Qatar, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel at all.

According to the senior political bureau officer, their efforts came to naught due to Israel’s inability to form a government.

“These attempts didn’t make progress due to the inconsistency of the occupation and the unreadiness to start addressing this issue,” Dudin said.

“The complexity of the political situation in the Israeli entity between the Israeli political sides casts a heavy shadow on the interest of the Zionist prisoners and their families,” he added.

Hamas is holding the bodies of two soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, and two prisoners who are presumed to be still alive, Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed. They both suffer from mental health issues crossed over to Gaza four and five years ago respectively.

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Dudin also said that the negotiations blew up over Israel’s recent re-arrests of many former prisoners, which the security authorities carried out due to their renewed terrorist activity.

While admitting in November that Israel has been talking to the Gazan rulers through third parties, the government’s coordinator for prisoners and missing persons, Yaron Blum, lay the blame for the lack of a deal on the other side.

Hamas “is not yet ripe for a deal — its demands are crazy,” he said at the time. “It doesn’t understand that the Israeli public has changed and there will not be a second Shalit deal.”

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was captured alive in a cross-border raid from Gaza and held for over five years in captivity until he was released in 2011 in exchange for over a thousand Palestinian prisoners.

Last week, a forum for bereaved families sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating their fierce opposition to the release of any Palestinian prisoners, as this would “invite additional murders of Israelis.”

The representatives of “Choosing Life” wrote that they would “do whatever it takes” to block such a deal, including acts of civil insurrection such as blocking roads, in their effort to stop future terrorist attacks they were sure the freed terrorists would carry out.