The Netanyahu government is working continuously to achieve a prisoner exchange deal and secure the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said on Saturday.
Zahar told the Israeli Arab website, www.alarab.co.il that this was a change from the behavior of the previous government, which "would send an envoy and then disappear for months."
Zahar added that, should Israel desire to hold the exchange, Hamas was prepared to do so even now.
Zahar would not give details on the talks, saying that "we prefer to remain silent so as not to affect those who do not want the deal to take place."
The head of the Campaign to Free Gilad Schalit, Shimshon Liebman, on Saturday called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "Not to abandon Gilad in the darkness of Hamas."
While taking part in a bike ride around the Kinneret dedicated to the captured soldier, Liebman also said that since a videotape showing the captured soldier was received a month ago, the Israeli side had been silent.
"We have been trying not to interfere, and to give the prime minister room to work, but now we're ready to return, and let our voices be heard," Liebman added.
Hours after the tape was received, Netanyahu had said that "even though the release of Schalit is still far away, the video is an encouraging sign."
Some 8,000 cyclists took part in Saturday's event.