Hamas Official Says Group Proposed New Prisoner-swap Deal to Israel

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Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in 2018.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in 2018.Credit: AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

Hamas has offered Israel a new proposal for a prisoner-swap deal, Zaher Jabarin, the Palestinian group’s official in charge of prisoners’ affairs said Tuesday.

Jabarin did not provide details, but the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported that Hamas had effectively made two proposals to Israel.

According to the newspaper report, the first proposal would see the captives and soldiers’ remains held by Hamas given to Israel in exchange for the release of all prisoners who were rearrested after being released in the 2011 deal to rescue Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Under this proposal, Israel would also release all Palestinian women and children that are in jail, according to Al Akhbar.

The second reported proposal includes two stages. First, in exchange for information on the Israeli captives, Israel would release women, children, and some of the prisoners rearrested after the 2011 deal. In the second phase, Israel would release thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the Israelis. Earlier this month, Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, said any future prisoner-swap deal would include the release of six Palestinians who recently escaped a high-security prison and were recaptured after a vast manhunt.

Last April, Hamas said it had used mediators to propose parameters for a prisoner-swap deal, but that Israel’s response suggested it was not genuinely interested. In February, the Saudi-owned and UAE-based channel Al Arabiya reported that Israel had requested Egyptian help to secure a deal with Hamas.

Hamas is holding civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed since 2014 and 2015, respectively, and the bodies of two soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul since 2014, in Gaza.

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