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Israel, Hamas to Resume Negotiations on Prisoner Deal after Jewish Holidays

Israel, Hamas to Resume Negotiations on Prisoner Deal after Jewish Holidays

Tuesday, 22 September, 2020 - 08:45
A Palestinian protester yells at an Israeli soldier during a protest against Israeli forces conducting an exercise in a residential area near the Palestinian village of Naqura, September 4, 2019. (Getty Images)

Israel and Hamas will resume the prisoner exchange negotiations next month after the Jewish holidays, according to informed sources.

The talks stopped due to disagreements over what Israel should offer in exchange for a humanitarian deal.

Member of the Hamas politburo, Khalil al-Hayya, confirmed that Israel had not shown the necessary seriousness to move forward in a swap.

He said the issue is being discussed away from the media, saying such a deal requires seriousness and boldness from Israeli.

His statements confirm a previous report by Asharq al-Awsat regarding a prisoner swap. An Egyptian security delegation had initiated talks between Israel and Hamas and they will be resumed at a later time.

Reports revealed that Hamas is ready for a humanitarian deal, based on a proposal in April by Yayha Sinwar, head of Hamas movement in Gaza.

Sinwar said his movement is ready for a deal that includes the release of the sick, elderly, children and female Palestinian prisoners "in exchange for offering something," which he did not specify.

It is believed that Sinwar is ready to provide information about the situation of the prisoners in Gaza, which Israel wants to turn into a comprehensive deal.

The sources said that Hamas is also ready for an agreement, but not as Israel previously suggested: handing over the bodies of its fighters and releasing sick and elderly prisoners.

Hamas is stipulating the release of hundreds of prisoners, including longtime prisoners and others serving life sentences, in exchange for a final deal.

Hamas is holding four Israelis in the Gaza Strip, including Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were captured by the movement in the war that broke out in the summer of 2014. Israel believes Shaul and Goldin are dead, however, Hamas does not provide any information about their fate.

Hamas is also holding Avera Mengistu, an Israeli of Ethiopian descent, and Hashim Badawi al-Sayyid, who is of Arab descent. Both crossed Gaza borders at two different times after the war.

Israel is detaining over 5,000 Palestinians, including 41 in Damon prison, 180 children and minors in Ofer, Majdou, and Damon prisons and 541 prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment.

UN envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, had met with Hamas officials last week in Gaza to discuss the prisoner exchange deal.

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