Ismail Haniyeh (L) and Yahya Sinwar (R).
(photo credit: SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Egypt has proposed a new plan to jumpstart prisoner swap talks between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported on Thursday, citing anonymous sources.
According to the Egyptian plan, Israel would turn over 39 Palestinian bodies including those of 19 Hamas terrorists, which it took captive during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, to Hamas in return for information on Israeli soldiers’ bodies and civilians believed to be held in Gaza.
Hamas is thought to be holding the bodies of two soldiers – Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul – as well as three Israeli civilians – Hisham al-Sayed, Avera Mengistu and Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima.
Following the exchange of bodies and information, Israel would release Palestinian prisoners who were rearrested after being set free as a part of the Gilad Schalit prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas in 2011.
Hamas officials have said that Israel is holding 54 such prisoners.
Thereafter, Israel and Hamas would enter into “serious and real” indirect negotiations under the auspices of Egypt to achieve a prisoner swap deal.
Al-Quds reported that Egyptian officials presented the plan to a Hamas delegation that visited Cairo this past week. Egyptian Intelligence chief Khalid Fawzy and Hamas Politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh and a number of other senior Hamas officials met in Cairo on Monday.
The Palestinian daily also reported that Hamas officials refused to comment for its story.
Hamas officials and the Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.
Israel has previously released prisoners in exchange for information on Israeli captives held by Hamas and other groups. In 2009, Israel released 20 prisoners in return for video footage of Schalit, a soldier who had been taken hostage by Hamas in 2006.
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