Hamas rules out vaccines in exchange for returning missing persons

Former Hamas leader says exchange deal with Israel will focus on release of security prisoners in exchange for return of missing soldiers.

Dalit Halevi ,

Khaled Mashaal
Khaled Mashaal
Flash 90

Former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said on Tuesday there are no new developments regarding a possible prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas, which would be based on the release of terrorist prisoners by Israel in exchange for the return of missing IDF soldiers and Israeli hostages.

According to Mashaal, the reports from Israel regarding progress in the negotiations to formulate an exchange deal are "incorrect."

Earlier, Kan 11 News reported that Hamas had prepared the list of prisoners it would demand that Israel release as part of the deal, and that the details were passed on to an Egyptian intelligence delegation that recently visited the Gaza Strip.

Mashaal claimed that Israel's policy regarding the exchange deal is characterized by disregarding its obligations after the implementation of the Shalit deal, by sometimes underestimating the capabilities of Palestinian resistance organizations and by violating human rights and intensifying suffering in the Gaza Strip during the coronavirus crisis.

Mashaal also stressed that the exchange deal focuses on the return of the "occupation soldiers" in exchange for the release of Palestinian Arab prisoners, and that the issue has nothing to do with any humanitarian issue.

In this statement, Mashaal rejected reports of an Israeli proposal to transfer coronavirus vaccines to the Gaza Strip in exchange for the return of the missing Israelis.

Hamas has been holding the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

In addition, two Israeli civilians who went missing in Gaza - Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed - are believed to be held by Hamas as well.