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Bennett still rejects release of Palestinian prisoners serving long sentences

September 29, 2021 at 10:32 am

Israels prime minister Naftali Bennett addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, on September 27, 2021, at UN headquarters in New York [JOHN MINCHILLO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday reiterated that Palestinian prisoners who are serving long sentences will not form part of any prisoner swap with Hamas, Sama news agency reported.

Bennett described the Palestinian prisoners as “terrorists who have blood on their hands.”

When asked why Israel does not use more power to force Hamas to carry out a prisoner swap on Israel’s terms, Bennett said that this issue is being put on the table of the political and military officials for discussion.

The right-wing prime minister said that he discussed the prisoner swap with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“I told him that Hadar Goldin was kidnapped during a ceasefire declared by the UN,” Bennett claimed, “therefore, it is his duty as a UN Secretary-General to exert his utmost efforts to free the soldiers.”

Ignoring the thousands of Palestinian civilians held in Israeli jails, Bennett said that he told Guterres that “detaining civilians is a human rights violation committed by terrorist organisations,” referring to the Palestinian resistance groups.

Israel believes the bodies of two of its soldiers, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and Sergeant Oron Shaul, are being held in Gaza after they were killed in battle during the 2014 assault on the enclave. This is in addition to two alleged civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed, who Hamas says are also soldiers and are being held as prisoners of war.

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