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Hamas, Israel and a new prisoner exchange deal

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There has been more talk recently of the possibility of a prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel following the return of an Israeli soldier’s body from Syria and the Islamic movement’s announcement of receiving European offers to move forward with such an agreement. Hamas has also threatened to capture more soldiers to prompt a new prisoner exchange, while the family of an Israeli soldier captured in Gaza accused the Israeli government of letting them down and leaving its son with Hamas. The family of Hadar Goldin, an Israeli officer captured by Hamas, attacked the authorities for abandoning him after sending him to fight in the Gaza Strip, and for abandoning its moral duty which stipulates that no soldier is left behind on the battlefield.

What offers have been made to Hamas regarding a deal, and is the movement serious about its threat to capture more soldiers? Are Israeli prisoners a burden on Hamas and will Israel’s release of Syrian prisoners in exchange for the soldier’s body mean that the state has backed down from its strict rule of a body for a body?

Musa Dodin is the head of prisoner affairs at the Hamas political bureau. He revealed that the European offer to advance a prisoner exchange deal with Israel includes providing information about Israeli soldiers in exchange for the occupation authorities releasing the bodies of martyrs killed during the 2014 Israeli offensive against Gaza. However, Hamas has rejected the offer and stressed that those who want information about Israeli prisoners should first release Palestinian prisoners.

Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Fathi Hammad said that the movement is preparing for what it described as a victory in a new deal. “If the Israeli government is not satisfied with our prisoners,” he added, “then the door is open to capture more........

© Middle East Monitor