Prisoner exchange talks with Hamas fail

Israel accepted and Hamas rejected a prisoner exchange offer mediated by Qatar, according to various reports. 

The Persian Gulf Arab country of Qatar is currently involved in mediation efforts on reaching a prisoner exchange agreement between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas, according to a report on Wednesday by the Nazareth-based Kul al-Arab weekly.

The report, which referenced Hamas officials, said that Israel agreed to release security prisoners who had already been released once before in an exchange for former Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit 5 years ago. Shalit was captured by Hamas in the summer of 2006 and held until that exchange with Hamas. The prisoners at issue now were re-arrested during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, after violating the terms of their release.

In return for the release of these prisoners, Hamas would release the bodies of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin who were killed and subsequently captured by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge, and would also release two Israeli civilians, Avraham Mengistu and Juma Ibrahim Abu Anima, whose whereabouts became unknown after straying into Gaza.

Hamas reportedly rejected the deal. The Times of Israel reported that a senior Hamas official said that the release of the Hamas prisoners was merely a prerequisite for further negotiations, with Hamas not giving Israel anything in return at this

“We are demanding the release of 58 prisoners from the Shalit deal who were arrested after the kidnapping of the three teenagers before we will even talk about a deal for the return of the bodies [of missing soldiers] and those missing people,” the Hamas official said.

he official told the Times of Israel that Egypt was involved in the mediation efforts as well.

In September, it was reported that Hamas rejected two parallel prisoner exchange offers.

By: World Israel News Staff