The President of the Red Cross will meet with the Hamas leadership in Gaza, as well as with PA and Israeli officials in Ramallah and Jerusalem, in order to discuss the release of the two Israelis held in the Gaza Strip and the bodies of the two fallen IDF soldiers.

Goldin and Shaul - bodies being held by Hamas

Goldin and Shaul – bodies being held by Hamas Photo Credit: Courtesy of the families/Channel 2 News

President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer is to meet with the Hamas leader in Gaza today and discuss fallen IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul as well as the two Israelis who are being held captive by Hamas in Gaza, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al Sayyid. Maurer will arrive in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and is later expected in Jerusalem and Ramallah, where he will attempt to promote the peace talks.

Last week, it was reported that according to security officials, the terror organization has hardened its position regarding the negotiations for a prisoner exchange. Hamas is now reportedly demanding as a prerequisite the release of thousands of prisoners who were arrested after the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers. It appears that Israel is planning to decline Hamas’ prerequisite demands.

Meanwhile, former head of the Shin Bet Yuval Diskin announced that he is assisting the Mengistu family in its efforts to talk with the relevant political figures in order to attempt to return Avera home from Gaza.

Abera Mengistu's family

Abera Mengistu’s family Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: “We cannot remake the mistake [made] in the Shalit deal,” referring to the prisoner exchange deal Israel made with Hamas in 2011. “1,027 terrorists were released, including murderers and their accomplices, including Mahmoud Qawasmeh, who was released to the Gaza Strip and funded the kidnapping of the three teenagers, and Yahya Sinwar, who is leading Hamas in the Gaza Strip.”

Nevertheless, Lieberman added that he continues to be personally committed to returning the fallen soldiers’ bodies and the two citizens being held in Gaza.