Hamas source: Optimism about imminent prisoner exchange with Israel

July 2, 2021 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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“Hamas is determined to advance a prisoner deal soon, based on proposals known to Israel,” a Hamas source said in a conversation with TPS on Thursday.

Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

According to the source, who is in contact with Musa Dudin, the Hamas official entrusted with the prisoner portfolio, both Israel and Hamas have presented tough and rigid opening positions in recent days, although it is clear to each side “that eventually they will have to be flexible and reach a compromise.”

Referring to the conditions now under discussion, the source said that according to one of the outlines recently proposed by Hamas, the terror group demanded that in the first stage, Israel will release dozens of terrorists released in the Shalit deal who were since rearrested by Israel, and Hamas claims that some of them were arrested by Israel as bargaining chips and for reasons of generating pressure.

In return, as part of the same outline, Hamas expressed its willingness to release a 30-second video about the situation of two Israeli citizens and the bodies of two IDF soldiers held captive by it in the Gaza Strip.

He said that after Israel receives the video, the country is supposed to release the young, sick and elderly prisoners, as well as women prisoners, at Hamas’ request.

The source added that Hamas is now showing flexibility in one of its clauses and conditions and it is “not demanding compensation for the years in which more than 50 prisoners released in the Shalit were imprisoned in Israel.”

“According to our calculation, Israel should have compensated Hamas for 350 years in prison following the detention of 50 of our men for seven years, even though they did not return to terrorism,” the source claimed.

Although Dudin holds the prisoners’ file, the Hamas political bureau has approved the general outline currently being discussed in Cairo by its people, including a representative of Hamas’ Izz a-Din Al-Qassam military wing.

According to the source, Egypt maintains continuous contacts and is investing significant efforts to mediate between the parties.

On Wednesday, members of the Israeli delegation sat in Cairo and according to some sources, Hamas members sat in a nearby room.

“Egypt’s role is to formulate a compromise proposal that will include the final number of prisoners and the composition of the list submitted by Hamas,” the source said.

He said he was optimistic about the possibility of signing a prisoner exchange agreement in the near future after the recent elections in Israel slowed down the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas.

“Hamas is ready to promote any proposal and not only on the Egyptian channel, but Israel is taking time and responds to Hamas’ proposals with much delay, perhaps because of the political problems in Israel,” the Hamas man stressed.

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