Haniyeh: If Israel is serious about the prisoner swap, Hamas is too

"We are optimistic that we will achieve results, in the same way that we did in the Gilad Shalit deal."

Palestinian Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City February 28, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Palestinian Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City February 28, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday that some parties and mediators have contacted his movement to explore the possibility of reaching a prisoner exchange agreement with Israel. 
“If the enemy leaders are serious about reaching a deal, we are also ready for that in order to release our prisoners,” Haniyeh said in an interview with an Arab television network. 
We had negotiations for over five years on the issue of [Gilad] Shalit, and we managed it with a high degree of craftsmanship and were able to reach a victory.” 
Haniyeh said that Hamas is always optimistic that it will achieve what it wants. 
The Hamas leader did not provide details about the parties or mediators who – according to him – had contacted his movement concerning a possible prisoner exchange with Israel. 
“We are ready to go to a round of indirect negotiations to conduct a swap deal in light of the humanitarian situation,” Haniyeh added, referring to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, Qadoura Fares, said hope a "big" prisoner exchange will be held soon. 
“There is huge hope on the horizon that a deal will be achieved, and we hope that the upcoming [Muslim holiday of] Eid al-Fitr would see the release of a large number of our sons and daughters,”

Hamas is holding the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In addition, two Israeli civilians who voluntarily entered the Gaza Strip are also believed to be held captive by Hamas: Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.

Previously on Tuesday, Hamas said they are ready to release information on Israeli prisoners if Israel releases 250 prisoners it's holding, but are still not ready to negotiate a deal to release the Israeli captives, according to Al-Akhbar.