A FREED Palestinian prisoner waves a Hamas flag upon his arrival at the Rafah crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip in October, 2011..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Egyptian intelligence informed Hamas representatives it is unable to continue mediating between the terrorist organization and Israel over the issue of prisoners of war and missing persons, a source in the Persian Gulf said Wednesday.
The report did not explain why Egypt withdrew its hand from the issue, but said the country expressed its support for any country willing to fill the void.
Egypt's decision will make it difficult to continue the minimal communication that exists between Israel and Hamas, and comes only three weeks after the Israeli in charge of the issue, Col. (res.) Lior Lotan, resigned from his position.
A permanent replacement has not yet been chosen.
"My deep familiarity with the families of the prisoners of war and missing Israelis, and my privilege to serve their fateful mission — returning their sons home — has left me with a deep impression and constant commitment to them," he said.
"I have also been exposed to the cruelty and cynicism with which Hamas operates on the issue... We thank you for the trust you have placed in me, for guiding the issue and for the right to serve the state and the people," he added.
The families of the captives and missing expressed concern that Lotan's resignation would end the possibility of their sons' return from Hamas captivity
The family of killed soldier Hadar Goldin
, whose body is being held by Hamas in Gaza, declared after receiving the announcement that "we feel abandoned by the government."
The family of Oron Shaul, who was also killed and his body seized during Operation Protective Edge, asked to "quickly appoint another representative to act to achieve the desired breakthrough for Oron's return."
In the next war, IDF forces will actively engage in the capture of enemy combatants, Lotan said.
He stressed the importance of deterring the enemy.
"In order to prevent the next kidnapping, Israel must take some of its own captives, and everyone has to take 200. That does not mean it will prevent kidnappings, but the attitude will be different," he said.
"This is an idea that the IDF must improve on in the next war."