Hamas rejected 2 offers proposed by Israel for prisoner swap

The official from the Prime Minister’s Office who oversees all hostages and missing persons cases addressed for the first time in public the negotiations with Hamas in order to bring back the Israelis who are being held by Hamas and the bodies of the IDF soldiers that are also being held by the terrorist organization in Gaza.
Goldin (top left), al-Sayed (top right), Mengistu (bottom left) and Shaul (bottom right) Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Today (Tuesday), Colonel (Res.) Lior Lotan, who oversees all hostages and missing persons cases at the Prime Minister’s Office, participated in an international anti-terrorism conference at IDC Herzliya. Lotan told the audience about Israel’s efforts to return Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two Israelis who crossed the border into Gaza and are being held captive by Hamas, as well as the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, which are also being held captive by the terrorist organization in Gaza. Lotan revealed that Israel offered two proposals in order to bring the civilians and the bodies of the fallen soldiers back to Israel but Hamas rejected them.

“Since the end of Operation Protective Edge, Israel has been operating in a wide variety of channels and [using a lot of] tools in order to bring the boys home,” said Lotan. Regarding Mengistu and al-Sayed, Lotan said: “In addition, there were cases of other civilians, mentally-ill and those who suffer from mental exhaustion, who crossed the border into Gaza and were then held by Hamas. They are innocent civilians who are not involved in the fighting. Hamas knows about their situation. This is not a security matter. Israel has exhausted all the options and presented all the papers in order to prove that this is a humanitarian matter.”

According to Lotan, via several different channels, Israel presented Hamas with a proposal to transfer all the prisoners who were arrested and all the bodies that were seized by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge to the terrorist organization in exchange for the bodies of the two fallen IDF soldiers. “Another proposal was to return the [Palestinian] civilians who are being held in Israel after they crossed into the country on their own in exchange for the Israelis who crossed into Gaza,” claimed Lotan. “These things are generally accepted as the norm all over the world. At the end of every conflict, the sides exchange the prisoners and fallen soldiers. In an unprecedented manner, Hamas rejected the offer.”

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