Prisoner Deal with Hamas Is Frozen

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Negotiations between Israel and Hamas on the return of three Israeli citizens and the bodies of two IDF soldiers are stalemated, Israeli intelligence officials say, Ronen Bergman reports for Ynet.

Col. (res.) Lior Lotan has resigned after three years as coordinator for POWs and MIAs in the Prime Minister’s Office. Lotan was seriously wounded in the failed rescue attempt in 1994 of kidnapped IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman.
Hamas is holding two Israeli citizens: Abera Mengistu, 30, from Ashkelon, who crossed into Gaza in September 2014, and Hisham Shaaban al-Sayed, a Bedouin, who crossed into Gaza in April 2015. In addition, Hamas is holding the bodies of IDF soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul from the 2014 Gaza war.
“Israel of today is not the same Israel that existed on the eve of the (October 2011) Shalit deal,” explained a senior Israeli official. “Primarily, because the deal that was signed had already carried with it strong criticism from the public. Secondly, because living citizens who were taken by Hamas, partially due to their own fault, are not considered by the public to be soldiers who were taken captive while defending the country. This is why the public is only willing to pay a lower price for them. Third, because in light of the Shamgar Commission’s conclusions on the price that should be paid for POWs and MIAs, there are those in the political ranks, the intelligence and military ranks, and among the public, who want to exchange bodies for bodies rather than pay the price of living prisoners, certainly not prisoners with blood on their hands.”
{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}

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