“I don’t remember in the last years such an outright signal from Hamas regarding its desire to advance prisoner talks,” said an IDF officer.
By World Israel News Staff
The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement on Tuesday that it’s ready to talk to Hamas through mediators about a deal that would involve the release of Israelis being held by the terror group.
The Israeli message came after Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar signaled he would be open to such a deal.
Israel then released the message that “Chief negotiator for the release of prisoners Yaron Blum and his team, in coordination with the National Security Council and the defense establishment, are prepared in a constructive way to return the bodies and missing and to end this problem and call for immediate dialogue by means of mediators.”
Hamas is holding the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, Sgt. Oren Shaul, 21, and Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23. The Goldins have been outspoken critics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure thus far to return the corpse of their son and other missing Israelis in the hands of Hamas.
Another missing Israeli is Avera Mengistu, who crossed into the Gaza Strip of his own free will on Sept. 7, 2014. Also missing is Hisham al-Sayed, a Bedouin from the Negev town of al-Hura, who managed to enter the Strip on April 20, 2015. Captured by Hamas, both had a history of mental illness and are presumed to still be alive.
IDF Maj. Gen. Michael Milstein (res.) told Israel’s Channel 12 news, “I don’t remember in the last years such an outright signal from Hamas regarding its desire to advance prisoner talks. The pretext for the enthusiasm, in Hamas’s words, is ‘it’s concern for the health of its prisoners in Israel.’ The truth is it fears a corona outbreak in Gaza and understands it will need help from Israel.”