Israeli Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced on Wednesday that he would oppose any prisoner swap deal with the Islamic resistance movement Hamas “at all costs”.
Speaking to Israel’s Ynet news site, Smotrich expressed that there are other ways to return the bodies of the four Israeli soldiers and Israeli citizens detained by Hamas, adding that the release of Palestinian prisoners in any deal is a “red line” that cannot be crossed.
The Israeli minister who is known for his hostility towards the Palestinians, as well as Arab citizens of Israel, proposed to use humanitarian assistance provided to the besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as a means of pressure on Hamas to return the detained Israelis.
The news site reported that Germany, Switzerland and Egypt have been secretly mediating between Israel and Hamas to conclude a prisoner swap deal.
Meanwhile, Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported that the Palestinian factions have sent a list of Palestinian prisoners to international mediators requesting to release them as part of the deal.