Negotiations for Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange reach a standstill

Indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel have reached a deadlock over Israel’s demand for proof that its captured citizens are indeed alive.

The Lebanese paper Al Akhbar reported that Israel had offered to free an unknown number of Arab minors, women and Hamas parliamentarians. In return, Israel wants live video documentation as evidence that Avera Mengistu, Jumaa Ibrahim Ghanima and Hisham Al Sayeed are still alive.

According to the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Akhbar, Hamas rejected Jerusalem’s offer. Gaza’s Islamist rulers reportedly demanded that Israel free 55 Palestinian prisoners as a precondition for releasing the requested video material. These prisoners were in fact released during the Shalit deal and later rearrested by Israel. IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, captured in 2006, was freed in 2011 in exchange for 1027 Palestinian prisoners.

Egypt is coordinating the talks between Israel and Hamas and has reportedly suggested that the deal include the release of the bodies of IDF soldiers Oren Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed during the Gaza war in 2014. Hamas has so far refused to comply.

Mengistu, Al Sayeed and Ghanima had crossed the border between Israel and Gaza as a result of their mental illness, their families say.

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The Trump Administration’s Middle East diplomat, Jason Greenblatt, recently met the families of the imprisoned Israeli citizens.

By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News