Sufyan Abu Zaida, a Palestinian Authority minister and senior Fatah member living in Gaza, gave an interview to the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation Kan on Wednesday, the Jerusalem Post and Maariv report.
Commenting on Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, whose bodies are being kept hostage by Hamas, Abu Zaida said, “As a Palestinian, we are at war. There is a war, soldiers are captured, their situation is unknown, and then there is a prisoner exchange.”
“Everyone tried not paying a price at first. As time goes on, it becomes more of a problem….You should know, and the Israeli public should be prepared, that in order to return the soldiers a price must be paid. There are no free prisoner exchanges. Hamas wouldn’t do it even if Gaza thrives. [Yahya] Sinwar, the head of the Hamas who was released in the [Gilad] Shalit [prisoner exchange] deal, cannot permit himself to give the soldiers for some hudnah [ceasefire] or another. He would rather receive a missile to the head than allow that to happen.”
Meanwhile, an Israeli diplomatic source said at the end of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday: “There will be no real arrangement with Hamas without the return of our sons and citizens and the promise of quiet over time….As long as this commitment (calm) is maintained, humanitarian issues and the return of our sons and citizens can be addressed.”
He added: “The current calm is the result of aggressive IDF action that will continue as necessary, and the quiet was achieved following the understandings advanced by the Egyptians and the United Nations.”