Hamas to Give Proof of Prisoners’ Condition in Swap Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -

Hamas has agreed to deliver a recording as proof that two Israeli citizens held captive in Gaza are still alive, as part of negotiations for a prisoner swap, according to Arabic-language media on Sunday.

“The deal’s steps and the full picture are ready and just awaiting the Israeli green light,” a source told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

A deal is expected to include the release of an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners.

According to sources quoted by al-Arab, Egyptian mediators are expected to receive a tape showing the condition of the Israelis held by Hamas; the number and “quality” of prisoners would be determined by how the Israelis appear in the footage, a source said.

Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel is expected to present Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with a proposal for an outline for a prisoner swap agreement, which Hamas agreed to, according to Egyptian sources.

Speaking to the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed daily, sources said Kamel will discuss the details of the outline during his visit to Israel scheduled for the end of November, after which the deal will need to be approved by Israel.

Kamel will also present the Egyptian view of the necessary relief for the Gaza Strip, which the Palestinian factions that recently visited Egypt agreed to.

“Egypt thinks there are simple steps Israel can take to help calm the situation and help promote a long-term agreement,” the sources said.

Israel is seeking the return of the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, Hy”d, who were killed in the 2014 Gaza war, as well as Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two Israeli civilians who crossed into Gaza voluntarily and are believed to be held in Hamas custody.

Kamel and Bennett will also discuss topics such as tensions with Iran and security in Syria. The report also stated that Egypt and Israel have discussed weapons supplied by Iran to its allies in the region.

The sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that “these weapons represent a direct threat to the security situation in the entire region, not just Israel.”

The head of Egyptian intelligence is also expected to talk about the military coup in Sudan and on “Israeli movement in” the North African country.

Nevertheless, Hamas has denied last week any significant progress in prisoner swipe negotiations and said talks reached a dead end. It also said it will not return to the negotiating table as long as Israel refuses to approve the $8 million Hamas salaries to be allowed into the strip.