Israel made an offer to facilitate the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed during Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas and two civilians who crossed into Gaza, but Hamas has rejected the offer.
Hamas claimed Wednesday that it had again turned down an Israeli offer for a prisoner swap in exchange for two Israeli citizens and the remains of two IDF soldiers held by Hamas.
According to a report by Al-Jezeera, Hamas said they turned down the Israeli offer because it did not meet even their minimal demands.
Earlier this week, a Hamas source was quoted as saying that the terror group rejected an Israeli proposal to swap one of the Israelis held in Gaza for a Hamas prisoner, a brother of a senior Hamas official jailed in Israel.
Hamas is reportedly seeking a comprehensive deal and not a partial exchange. Such a comprehensive release of prisoners would play well for their propaganda purposes.
Avra Mangisto and Hisham Al-Sayed are two Israeli civilians believed to be held by Hamas after entering the Strip on their own.
In addition, the remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, two IDF soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, are believed to be held by the terror group.
Goldin was abducted by Hamas and killed during a battle with Hamas terrorists in Shajaiya. Two other IDF soldiers also died in the incident
Shaul died in battle together with another six Golani soldiers in Shajaiya when their armored personnel carrier was hit by an anti-tank rocket. His body was never recovered and is assumed to be held by Hamas.
Hamas has claimed in the past that Israel has advanced offers for a prisoner swap, which they have turned down.
In September, the prime minister’s coordinator for POWs and MIAs, Colonel (RES.) Lior Lotan, told the Herzliya Conference that Israel made two parallel offers through several channels to facilitate the return of the soldiers’ bodies and the civilians, but Hamas rejected both.
Zahava Shaul, mother of Oron Shaul, said in response to the report of that she expects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s government to do their utmost to bring her son home.
The Goldin family also stated that it was unsatisfied with the government’s efforts to return their son’s remains for burial in Israel.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News