Hamas Chief in the Gaza Strip, Yehia Sinwar, has rejected a demand by the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, to verify the conditions of Israeli captives, sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
The sources noted that during a meeting on Tuesday with Sinwar and other Palestinian officials, Maurer has asked to disclose the fate of the detainees and conditions of their detention.
However, Sinwar told the ICRC chief that such request was impossible to meet and added that the prisoners’ condition was better than that of Palestinians detained in Israel.
He noted that any swap deal with Israel should guarantee the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Meanwhile, other sources said that the Hamas official also rejected Maurer’s demand to visit Israeli prisoners in Gaza.
Maurer, for his part, described the meeting with Hamas officials as “constructive.”
He also met on Tuesday with Gazan civilians and prisoners’ families.
“I wanted to assure the Gazan population and the authorities here that the ICRC will continue to do its best to support those who suffer most,” Maurer said, addressing reporters.
In a statement, Hamas said Sinwar discussed with the ICRC chief the “difficult humanitarian conditions in Occupied Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to the Occupation forces’ practices that violate the international law.”
Maurer toured Gaza’s sewage-contaminated beachfront and met with beneficiaries of ICRC agricultural and medical programs.
The ICRC chief began on Tuesday a three-day visit, during which he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah and other officials in Gaza.
A statement by the ICRC said Maurer would share observations from his visit and from his exchanges with the authorities and with civil society representatives during a press conference that would take place on September 7 at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.