Israel Denies That It Cold-Shouldered Hamas Overture on Prisoners

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israel Hamas
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israel has denied a charge by Hamas on Thursday that it had rejected the terror group’s recent overtures to negotiate an exchange of prisoners, The Times of Israel reported.

Yaron Blum said the claim is false, and that Hamas is welcome to contact the intermediaries who carry messages between Israel and Gaza in order to renew talks on a prisoner exchange, The Times of Israel reported.

Blum is the Israeli official tasked with recovering the bodies of two fallen IDF soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza and two Israeli citizens being held there.

“We have tried to make progress and achieve another prisoner exchange deal,” Hamas said in an English-language statement on Twitter, “but all of our efforts have been rejected by the Israeli occupation and its leadership is not ready to conclude a deal.”

Also on Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, thanking him for expelling the Israeli ambassador over the Gaza bloodshed.

n his letter, Haniyeh called on the Muslim nations participating in the emergency meeting in Turkey of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Friday to form a united front to defend the Palestinians and Moslem sites in Yerushalayim against the threat posed by Israel and the United States.