Hamas says 5 countries sought to broker recent failed prisoner swap with Israel
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Hamas says 5 countries sought to broker recent failed prisoner swap with Israel

Senior member of Gaza-ruling terror group accuses Jewish state of sinking effort to negotiate exchange, suggests Israeli political deadlock getting in the way of a deal

A Hamas police officer looks at a billboard in Gaza City from the terror group's military wing bearing a portrait of Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, who was killed in the 2014 Gaza war, December 29, 2017. (Wissam Nassar/Flash90)
A Hamas police officer looks at a billboard in Gaza City from the terror group's military wing bearing a portrait of Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, who was killed in the 2014 Gaza war, December 29, 2017. (Wissam Nassar/Flash90)

A senior Hamas member on Thursday said five countries took part in recent efforts to broker a prison swap between the Gaza-ruling terror group and Israel.

Musa Dudin, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said Egypt led efforts to broker an agreement, along with Qatar, Turkey, Germany and Sweden. He said this push for a deal took place recently, but did not further specify.

He accused Israel of torpedoing a potential agreement.

“It’s impossible to implement a new deal until the occupation releases the prisoners it rearrested,” he told Palestinian media, according to Channel 12 news.

Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners as part of a 2011 deal in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured by Hamas in 2006. A number of those were rearrested over further violations.

IDF soldiers Oron Shaul, left, and Hadar Goldin, right.

Dudin, who previously was imprisoned in Israel on terror offenses before his release as part of the Shalit deal, suggested the months-long political paralysis in Israel was making an agreement more difficult.

“The complexity of the political situation in the Israeli entity… casts a heavy shadow on the interest of the Zionist prisoners and their families,” he said.

Directly addressing Palestinian prisoners, Dudin said Hamas was working to secure their release.

“The coming days will prove the resistance [Hamas] is very serious in the pursuit of achieving this holy and great objective,” he said, without elaborating.

Hamas is believed to be holding captive two Israeli citizens — Avraham Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed — who are said to have entered the Gaza Strip of their own accord in 2014-2015.

It also holds the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, IDF soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza war.

The bereaved parents of the soldiers and the Mengistu family have expressed repeated frustration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s efforts to negotiate the return of their sons.

Families of Avra Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed pose for a picture as they hold a press conference calling for the release of the two Israeli citizens from Hamas captivity, on September 6, 2018. Al-Sayed is a Bedouin Israeli and Ethiopian Jewish Israeli, are both mentally ill and are held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip after crossing the border. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Israel’s chief negotiator for the release of Israelis held by Hamas said last month that the Palestinian terror group refuses to adopt a stance that would allow for real progress in talks for a possible prisoner swap.

Yaron Blum has said earlier in the month as well that Israel was working through a number of mediator channels and that while there was progress toward a deal to release the prisoners, Hamas “is not yet ripe for a deal — its demands are crazy. It doesn’t understand that the Israeli public has changed and there will not be a second Shalit deal.”

A deal over the Israeli captives and remains is believed to be one of several issues holding up a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas following long months of tensions and flareups.

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