Israel recently presented Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, with a proposal for a prisoner swap and is waiting for a response, Ynet reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, the proposed deal—the details of which have not been released—was conveyed through a third party.
Hamas is currently holding the bodies of two Israel Defense Forces soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, both killed during Operation Protective Edge—Israel’s 2014 war against Hamas terrorists and infrastructure in Gaza—in addition to civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two Israelis who crossed on foot into the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015.
In a video address last Thursday to the ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem commemorating the fallen soldiers of Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Everything was done to bring home Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul, the beloved fighter who excelled, and First Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, the admired commander who swept his fighters in his wake. It is our basic, human duty to them and to their families. And I take this opportunity to wish a speedy recovery–and I wish I could say a full recovery and health–and if I can then a full recovery and good health for their entire lives to the injured soldiers, who are embraced by the love of the nation, along with their families.”
In April, Channel 13 cited a senior Israeli source saying that the coronavirus crisis had created “an exceptional and rare opportunity to reach a prisoner deal with Hamas,” and other Hebrew media outlets reported significant progress on a prisoner exchange.
In May, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh threatened to kidnap more Israelis if a prisoner deal is not reached. “A prisoner-exchange deal has a known price,” he said. “Israel knows that. Either we will come to a respectable deal, or we will go to the other option, which is increasing our loot. Our arm is long.”