Palestinian sources reportedly said Thursday that a new Israeli proposal for a prisoner swap doesn’t meet the basic conditions set by the Hamas terror group.
The report in Palestinian paper Al-Quds came a day after the Ynet news site reported that Israel had recently sent Hamas a new prisoner exchange proposal and was awaiting the terror group’s response. That report did not provide any information about the content of the proposal, but said it was conveyed via a third party at some point in the last several weeks, citing “a source with knowledge of the details.”
Thursday’s report quoted unnamed Palestinian sources saying Israel’s latest proposals have been “weak,” offering bodies in exchange for the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul or offering to release only prisoners not convicted of murder.
The sources accused Israel of engaging in “manipulations” with the offers, adding that Hamas was sticking to its demand to release dozens of terror convicts who had been released in a 2011 exchange deal and were then rearrested, as well as elderly and sick prisoners.
Hamas is interested in a deal but “not at all costs,” the sources were quoted as saying.
The Gaza-based group late last month said that a precondition for any prisoner swap deal with Israel was the release of dozens of terror convicts cut loose in the 2011 Shalit deal and since rearrested.
Under that deal with Hamas, Israel released 1,027 Palestinian terror convicts in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been abducted in 2006.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared last Thursday that Israel was still working to retrieve the bodies of the two servicemen killed in the Gaza Strip six years ago. He said his government would not miss “a window of opportunity” to bring them home.
His comments, delivered by video during a ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl commemorating the sixth anniversary of 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, were harshly panned by Simcha Goldin, whose son Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was killed during the conflict.
Hamas is currently holding the bodies of Goldin and Shaul, who was also killed in 2014. It is also holding civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two Israelis who entered Gaza of their own accord.
“We are here to remember six years of continuing neglect and the prime minister decided not to meet us this year, because he has nothing to tell us,” declared Goldin, who has long been critical of Netanyahu.
Families of fallen soldiers were not present at the official state ceremony, where attendance was limited because of coronavirus-related health concerns. As a result, Goldin and other relatives erected a protest tent outside the venue.