Israel asked European officials to serve as arbitrators in talks with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas about the return of remains of Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge last summer, al-Araby al-Jadeed reported Monday.
According to the London-based news outlet, senior Hamas officials said they refused to discuss the issue as long as Israel still holds prisoners who were released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, but were later rearrested.
Meanwhile, Arab media outlets reported that Hamas leaders are conflicted over whether to have indirect lines of communication with Israel to discuss a five-year cease-fire. It was recently reported that Qatari officials contacted Israel on behalf of Hamas and offered to mediate a long-term cease-fire agreement. While Hamas leaders in Gaza were in favor of this initiative, Hamas leaders abroad remain opposed to any negotiations that could bring about a long-term cease-fire.