Hamas denies negotiations in progress to return missing

Hamas official says Netanyahu's statement of willingness to advance negotiations on returning missing is not sign of talks on issue.

Mordechai Sones ,

Sinwar at Hamas meeting
Sinwar at Hamas meeting
Flash 90

Palestine Prisoners Research Center Spokesman Riyadh Al-Ashqar reacted to the Prime Minister's Office's statement that "the security system is prepared to act constructively with a view to restoring the killed and missing, and ending the issue."

Netanyahu's office referred to the statements by Hamas head Yahya al-Sinwar, who expressed willingness for some flexibility in the movement's stance on an exchange deal to return Israeli missing persons held in Gaza.

"We can grant a partial concession regarding the soldiers being held captive by us in exchange for releasing the elderly and sick prisoners as a humanitarian gesture in light of the coronavirus crisis," said Sinwar.

Regarding the overall deal, he said the price would be high and Israel would have to pay it, and that the first condition for negotiations was releasing prisoners who had been released as part of the Shalit deal and were subsequently re-arrested by Israel.

Ashkar said Netanyahu's remarks do not mean starting negotiations on a new exchange and there is currently nothing new on the matter.

In quotes brought by Hamas newspaper Palestine, Ashkar said that "anyone who wants a real deal does not use propaganda through the media, and the method of communication through mediators is known."

According to him, the situation in Israel is complicated by the spread of the coronavirus and the leadership will find it difficult to make decisions about an exchange deal, and that Israel is still not ready to pay the price Hamas demands to return Israeli missing persons.