| 15 June 2021, Tuesday | النسخة العربية

Israeli Officials Say No Real Progress in Prisoner Swap Deal with Hamas

Israeli officials said that there was no real progress in the prisoner swap file with Hamas, despite recent moves.

Maariv daily quoted officials as saying that even with the ongoing talks, there was no chance for Israel to agree to the request of Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yehya Al-Sinwar, to release 1,111 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli detainees.

Following talks with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Abbas Kamel in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Sinwar said he was confident that his efforts would obtain a well-deserved exchange deal, adding: “Remember the number 1,111 that I spoke of; you will recall it well.”

Sinwar’s remarks, which headlined Israeli and Palestinian media, pointed to Gaza’s request to release 1,111 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israelis detained by Hamas.

Commenting on Sinwar’s remarks, Israeli sources said he “wanted to convince himself that he had achieved victory in the operation ‘Guardian of the Walls’ (the Israeli name for the recent aggression on Gaza), so he raises the ceiling of his demands.”

The Yedioth Ahronoth website doubted the possibility of making progress in this file, especially since the current or upcoming Israeli government would not be willing to pay the price demanded by Hamas.

Many previous rounds have failed to achieve any progress in the swap file, in light of Israel’s failure to meet conditions, which to free all those it re-arrested after their initial release within a previous deal between the two sides in 2011.

Egypt oversaw the previous talks between Hamas and Israel, while Western countries also intervened, such as Germany, Switzerland and Norway.

Following the recent war, Cairo renewed pressure for an exchange deal, among other steps that include the reconstruction of the Strip and achievement of internal Palestinian reconciliation, in an attempt to reach comprehensive calm that would allow the launch of a new political path.

Israel’s Kan said an Israeli team would visit Cairo soon to discuss the file of the captured soldiers held by Hamas. The news channel noted that the delegation would discuss a deal to recover the citizens and the bodies of Israeli soldiers who are being held by Hamas in the Strip.