Report: Egypt to Broker Exchange Deal Between Israel and Hamas

YERUSHALAYIM -
Hamas members stand guard outside a mural depicting a prison cell holding Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin, Hy”d, captive in Gaza City, in this 2015 file photo. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt has proposed a deal that would see Israel free Hamas terrorists, with the Gaza terror group releasing the remains of IDF soldiers it is holding, as well as two Israelis being held in Gaza. The deal, reported the Palestinian Authority-controlled Al Quds newspaper, would begin with Israel releasing the remains of Hamas terrorists it is holding, and move on to an exchange of the Israelis for live Hamas terrorists.

The deal would take place in three stages, the report said. In the first stage, Israel would release the remains of 39 terrorists it is holding — 19 of them Hamas terrorists — who were killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In return, Hamas would provide information on the status of Hadar Goldin, Hy”d, and Oron Shaul, Hy”d, who are believed to have been killed during the war when Hamas terrorists dragged them into a terror tunnel. At the second stage, negotiations would begin on Israel’s release of terrorists who were originally released in the deal to bring home kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, but who were rearrested when they engaged in further acts of terror. Hamas has made any exchange deal contingent on releasing these terrorists. In the third stage, Israel would negotiate with Hamas on other matters, under Egyptian supervision. Neither Israel nor Hamas has commented on the report.

Israel in the past has offered to release dozens of Gaza Arabs who crossed into Israel by evading the Gaza border fence and were arrested. In return, Hamas would release Avram Mengistu and Hisham a-Sayad, two Israeli citizens being held by the terror group and who were non-combatants. Israel has also offered to release the remains of 19 Hamas terrorists in exchange for the remains of Goldin and Shaul. Hamas has rejected both these offers, emphasizing in a statement this week that without the release of the Shalit-deal terrorists from Israeli prisons, no deal will be made.

A Hamas delegation has been in Cairo since last weekend. A report Thursday said that the Gaza terror group had struck a deal with the Egyptian regime to open a permanent representative office in Cairo.