PA welcomes Russian aid in prisoners release

Despite earlier claims that “the ball is in Israeli hands now,” it seems both Russia and Egypt are seeking a role in any future deal if one is struck.

Prison cell block (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Prison cell block
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Head of the Palestinian Authority Research department on the matters of inmates in Israeli prisons Abad Al-Nazar released a post on social media on Thursday in which he said that while any efforts made by Russia to convince Israel to release Palestinian inmates is much appreciated, Egypt is the mediating country that is leading such efforts.  
Called the "coronavirus deal" by some, the proposed deal would mean that Israel would release some Palestinian inmates now in prisons such as women and minors in exchange for several Israeli hostages currently being kept in the Gaza Strip as well as the remains of IDF soldiers who died in combat, whose remains were held there for such a purpose.      
Hamas has held the bodies of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and has civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed in captivity.
Musa Dudeen, a senior Hamas official in charge of the “prisoners’ portfolio” in the group, said on Wednesday that “there’s no need to send initiatives through mediators.” Yet the PA report may indicate that Russia is attempting to mediate in this affair.  
In 2007 Palestinian Media Watch reported that Al-Nazar believes Israel is conducting medical experiments on Palestinian inmates which are intended to make them "sterile and insane."
The Prime Minister's Office released a statement on Tuesday stating that Israel is willing to negotiate with Hamas to secure the release of soldiers’ bodies and civilians in Hamas captivity in Gaza.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.