Sources: Israel Has Decided Not to Agree to Prisoner Swap With Hamas


A still image taken from a video released by the Hamas media office shows what Hamas says is captured Israeli Hisham al-Sayyed in an undisclosed location. (Hamas Media Office/Handout via REUTERS)

Israel has decided not to agree to a partial prisoner swap with the Hamas terror organization in the wake of the video release of an Israeli captive hooked up to oxygen in Gaza, sources said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Hamas released a video of Hisham al-Sayed lying in a bed with an oxygen mask on his face. A screen seen in the room was broadcasting pictures of a conference held this week in Qatar. Al-Sayed crossed into Gaza on his own volition in 2015. His family claimed that he was mentally ill.

Sources told Yediot that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who is set to become interim prime minister later this week, have decided not to agree to a partial deal proposed by Hamas.

The Lebanese Al Mayadeen channel reported earlier that Hamas offered to exchange Al-Sayed for sick Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

According to the Lebanese report, Hamas told Egyptian negotiators visiting Gaza that they were dropping their demand that Israel free prisoners who were involved in terror acts resulting in the death of Israelis and those arrested after being released in an earlier prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit in 2011.

According to sources, Israel wants the agreement to include Avera Mengistu, who has been held in Gaza since 2014, as well as the bodies of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, Hy”d, who were killed in Operation Protective Edge.

The sources added that Israel sees the publication of the video as an attempt by Hamas to shake up the stalled prisoner swap deal negotiations, and it is estimated the terror organization published the video to try and rid itself of responsibility for the prisoner’s deteriorating health.

Israel, however, said Hamas is directly responsible for the health of the prisoner. “Hisham al-Sayed is not a soldier, but a mentally ill Israeli citizen who crossed the border into the Gaza Strip,” said the official statement.

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