Ex-Israeli official says gov’t not serious about prisoner swap with Hamas
Hamas holds 4 Israelis in Gaza
A resigned Israeli official said Sunday that the government is not serious about a prisoner swap deal with Hamas to return Israelis held captive by the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza.
Moshe Tal, who was a top negotiator on Israel's missing soldiers in Gaza, told the local Radio 103FM that he had resigned his post after he felt that the Israeli government was not serious about returning back Israelis held in Gaza.
He added that the Israeli authorities had missed several opportunities to retrieve Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza, citing that there was an opportunity to reach a prisoner swap with Hamas one month after the Naftali Bennett government came to power.
Egypt is leading mediation talks between Israel and the Hamas group, which rules the Gaza Strip, in an effort to reach a prisoners swap. No progress, however, was made so far.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, keeps four Israelis captive, including two soldiers captured during the Israeli war on the territory in the summer of 2014. The other two are civilians who have entered Gaza under unclear circumstances.
The Palestinian group, which has not disclosed information about the conditions of the four Israeli hostages, demands the release of Palestinians in Israeli prisons in exchange for Israelis in captivity.
An estimated 4,600 Palestinians are believed to be held in Israeli prisons, including 41 women, 140 minors, and 440 administrative detainees, according to data compiled by organizations on the rights of prisoners.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar