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Israel to pressure Hamas to accept its terms on prisoner swap

August 30, 2017 at 11:47 am

Members of the Hamas military wing, Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades on 26 March 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

The Israeli defence minister’s office has been discussing putting more pressure on Hamas to accept a prisoner swap which is not in its favour, Israeli TV Channel 7 reported former officials saying yesterday.

According to, the former head of the Mossad division for prisoners and missing persons Rami Igra told the channel that the pressure would not affect Gaza’s electricity and food supplies because of the international pressure; adding that there are other ways.

“Hamas sent its conditions through a mediator and it is almost calling for a price similar to that paid for Shalit,” he said. Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011.

However, he said, the situation today is not similar to the past due to the criticism of the previous swap and the different between the price of prisoners who are alive and those who are dead.

Read: Israel re-arrests Palestinian released in prisoner swap 34 years ago

However, according to Member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee Eyal Ben Reuven: “The families of the soldiers [held in Gaza] are always right in their demand to return their sons alive or dead. But a prisoner swap is not the only way to return them.”

He said that the time to put pressure on Hamas had come, giving examples such as “preventing visitations for Hamas prisoners inside Israeli jails, placing them under very harsh conditions and cooperating with Egypt to fully close the Rafah crossing.”


The TV channel also reported the former head of the Shin Bet division of missing persons saying: “The life of the people running the Gaza Strip must be turned black.”

According to, a senior Israeli security official said that discussing such issues “must remain secret”. Leaking such details only “serves the enemy”, he explained.

He stressed that making anything public about such discussions “gives Hamas strength points” as it would understand that it is putting pressure on Israel; use this to divide Israeli opinion and cause controversy among Israelis.