Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel to expand mandate of its negotiating team in prisoner swap talks

February 22, 2024 at 4:42 pm

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speak during a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 25, 2023 [Elad Malka (IMoD)/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Israel will expand the authority given to its negotiating team during talks for a possible prisoner swap deal with Hamas, according to Israeli media today.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk during a meeting in Tel Aviv that the government will expand the mandate given to its negotiators for a hostage deal, the Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported.

“At the same time, the Israeli army is preparing to continue its intense ground operations,” he added.

David Barnea, chief of the Mossad intelligence service, heads Tel Aviv’s negotiating team to the talks, joined by the US, Egypt and Qatar.

McGurk arrived in Israel today from Egypt as part of diplomatic efforts to push for a Gaza ceasefire and prisoner swap deal with Hamas.

Israel estimates that at least 134 Israelis are held by Hamas.

Hamas demands an end to Israel’s offensive in Gaza in return for any prisoner swap deal with Israel.

Read: Marwan Barghouti solitary confinement prompts fears for his life, says prisoners’ rights group