Hamas said Monday that it proposed through the mediators a roadmap for reaching a prisoner exchange deal with Israel.
Zaher Jabarin, a member of the movement’s politburo, said in a statement that Hamas is waiting for an Israeli answer to the proposed roadmap.
Jabarin added that Israel has repeatedly tried to link the hard-living situation in the Gaza Strip and accelerating the reconstruction process in the enclave with the issue of its captives in Hamas’ grip.
“Hamas and the leadership of the Palestinian resistance had repeatedly rejected the Israeli attempts and informed the mediators that it is impossible to link between the two separate issues,” he said.
“The authorities of Hamas and Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades view the issue of Palestinian prisoners in the occupation’s prisons of high importance, and it is at the top of their agenda,” added Jabarin.
Jabarin moved on to accuse the Israeli occupation of being unclear.
“The occupation tries to access information about its soldiers in Gaza without paying any price”, said Jabarin, stressing that freeing the prisoners of the last swap deal who were re-arrested will be a condition for the completion of any upcoming deal”.
In 2017, Hamas militants announced that it held four Israelis, without saying if they are dead or alive.
Jabarin’s statements come at a time when Egypt is making efforts to complete an exchange deal, after many previous rounds having failed to reach an agreement.
Rumors suggest that Hamas’ prisoner swap offer is made up of a two-stage prisoner exchange deal.
The first stage will include releasing two civilian Israelis in addition to information about two Israeli soldiers the group is currently holding in exchange for Tel Aviv freeing Palestinian prisoners.
The second stage will include releasing the two soldiers in exchange for 800 Palestinian prisoners.