Hamas: "Negotiations for a prisoner exchange with Israel have failed"

According to earlier reports, Israel has been conducting indirect negotiations in the hopes of reaching a prisoner exchange deal before elections.

February 24, 2019 18:52
1 minute read.
Hamas: "Negotiations for a prisoner exchange with Israel have failed"

Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh gestures as he speaks during a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City December 16, 2018. (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)


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A Hamas source signaled that negotiations to reach a prisoner swap with Israel have failed, after the terror organization increased its demands, the London-based Independent Arabia newspaper reported on Feb. 24.

According to the source, Hamas demanded the release of 1,500 prisoners held by Israel, including 500 who, from Israel's point of view, have "blood on their hands" and are serving long prison sentences.

On Jan. 19 , Hamas officials told the London daily Al Arabi Al Jadid that the Israeli government was conducting indirect negotiations to reach a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas.

According to the report, the process was initiated in order "to strengthen the image of the Netanyahu government" before the April elections.

The Hamas officials told the paper that "officials in Europe and Cairo initiated the negotiations recently to make progress with the prisoner issue, and we know very well the reason for this," hinting that Hamas believed Netanyahu was trying to negotiate a prisoner swap before the April elections.

At the time, the Hamas officials made it clear that the group was standing by its demands in previous negotiations, including a release of all those prisoners released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, who were subsequently rearrested by Israel on suspicion of terror activity.

Hamas is currently holding two Israeli citizens in captivity, Avera Mengistu and Hisham el-Sayed. It is also holding the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.

Yasser Okbi contributed to this report.

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