Israeli official: There will be no second Schalit deal

Yaron Blum, charged with returning Israelis captive in Gaza, told the Knesset that there will be no further prisoner exchanges with Hamas.

May 31, 2018 06:44
Israeli official: There will be no second Schalit deal

A protest calling for the return of Avera Mengistu . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Yaron Blum, Israel’s coordinator of efforts to free Israeli captives in Gaza, told Knesset members that there will be no further exchange of prisoners like the one that enabled the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in 2011, Israel’s Kan news reported Wednesday.

From Israel’s perspective, the only potential deal would entail an easing of the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the remains of two IDF soldiers held by Hamas, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, and two captured Israeli citizens, Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.

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Blum was appointed in 2017 to serve as the coordinator of efforts to retrieve the remains of the fallen soldiers and return the Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza.

Blum served for two decades in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), where he held several top management and command positions, including as a member of the small team that worked to free Schalit. He left the agency in 2011.

Blum's statement to the Knesset followed a session of the body's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday, in which members of Mengistu's family met with lawmakers.

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