The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has denied that progress has made on a potential prisoner swap with the Israeli occupation authorities, Quds Press reported on Wednesday.
A source from Hamas told Quds Press that Israeli officials keep asking different countries which they visit to mediate on an exchange deal. The Speaker of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), Miki Levy, for example, asked for Germany’s assistance to mediate with Hamas. Levy apparently asked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his help in reaching a deal for the release of Israelis captured by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.
According to the Hamas official leading on the exchange file, a number of potential mediators, including the Swiss, Qatar, Turkey, Egypt and Norway, as well as Germany, have discussed the issue with the movement. “All the mediators reached a point where they were sure that Israel is not serious about a prisoner swap at this stage,” said Zaher Jabareen.
Israel believes that 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.
The resistance movement wants Israel to release as many as possible from among the 4,650 Palestinian prisoners it is holding in exchange for the four Israelis.