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Report: Hamas rejects Egypt-brokered prisoner exchange deal

January 6, 2023 at 10:23 am

Head of the Egyptian Intelligence Service Abbas Kamil (3rd L) meets Hamas’ Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar in Gaza City, Gaza on May 31, 2021. [Ashraf Amra – Anadolu Agency]

Hamas has rejected a proposal brokered by Egypt to release Israeli prisoners of war detained by the resistance movement in the besieged Gaza Strip in return for an Israeli pledge to improve living conditions in Gaza, senior military affairs analyst for Israel’s YNet news site, Ron Ben-Yishai, revealed.

Ben-Yishai quoted senior sources in the Israeli security establishment as saying that the outgoing Coordinator for Captives and the Missing, Yaron Blum, took the initiative to end the issue of prisoners and missing persons, and submitted a proposal through a third party, Egypt, but Hamas rejected it.

According to the same sources, even the Israeli government was not enthusiastic about accepting Blum’s proposal since it was presented on the eve of the elections that took place on 1 November.

Ben Yishai added that Blum’s proposal for the conclusion of the exchange deal includes an Israeli commitment to fundamentally improve the living conditions of Gaza’s residents for a long period.

Blum retired from his job in October without achieving any significant progress in the file of Israeli soldiers captured by Palestinian resistance forces in the Gaza Strip.

Blum served in the Shin Bet security service for many years and played a pivotal role in the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held in Gaza for five years before being released in 2011 as part of a deal with Hamas under which Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

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