08 April 2020 - 22:17
News ID: 449942
A
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says the regime is interested in “immediate” indirect prisoner exchange negotiations with the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which runs Gaza.

RNA - The office said in a statement on Tuesday that an Israeli team “stands ready to take constructive action with the goal of returning the fallen and the missing and of ending the affair, and are calling for an immediate dialogue via mediators.”

The agency said the plea sought to enable the release of two Israelis and the remains of two soldiers that are reportedly held by the resistance movement, which governs the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.

It said the troops had died during Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza that claimed 2,310 Palestinians and wounded 10,626 others.

Hamas official Moussa Dodin, however, dismissed the offer of negotiations as not being serious.

In February, a Hamas official said a number of Israeli prisoners of war had been wounded last year in a raid by the Israeli air force, which regularly carries out deadly sorties against the coastal enclave.

“Israeli occupation deserted its soldiers, who it sent to war in Gaza, while it is releasing an Israeli woman detained in Russia for smuggling drugs,” Abu Obeida tweeted, referring to Naama Issachar, an Israeli-American backpacker, who was released in January.

Last week, Israel linked any future coronavirus-linked aid to Gaza on a prisoner exchange deal.

Hamas has, however, warned against tying any such negotiation to humanitarian assistance, with Dodin warning Netanyahu, “(The Israelis) may be forced to negotiate under more complicated conditions” in the future.

Hamas leader Yehya al-Sinwar has also underscored that “a prisoner swap will exact a big price” from Israel, saying it had to start by the regime’s releasing of the sick, old, and female prisoners.

Israel holds thousands of Palestinians in its prisons amid the new coronavirus outbreak that has seen many international rights organizations campaigning for the release of the inmates amid the pandemic.

The virus has killed 71 in the Israeli-occupied territories and infected 8,532 others. Across the Palestinian territories, it has claimed one life and resulted in 218 cases of infection.

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