by Yona Schnitzer
Israel has sent a message to Hamas, expressing interest in a quick prisoner swap deal in order to return the remains of Israeli soldiers Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin, whose remains have been held by Hamas in Gaza since Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
In the message, conveyed by an Egyptian intermediary, Israel informed Hamas there will not be a repeat of the 2011 deal to free abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners.
The message also said that Israel will not release the 46 prisoners released in the Shalit deal, who have since been arrested again. Nor will Israel release prisoners with blood on their hands. Unlike the Shalit deal, Israel has informed Hamas there will be no requirement for a sign of life from the missing soldiers.
Israel is serious with its terms, the message stated, adding that if Hamas want to move forward in negotiations, it must deal directly with Israel’s appointed negotiator, Yaron Blum.