Oron Shaul, Hadar Goldin, Avera Mengistu
Oron Shaul, Hadar Goldin, Avera MengistuCourtesy of the families

Deputy Hamas leader Zahar Jabarin says that Hamas is handling the issue of the exchange deal with Israel (a release of terrorist prisoners in exchange for the return of missing IDF soldiers and Israeli civilian hostages) within a small committee and the issue is very sensitive and secret.

According to Jabarin, who was quoted in the Hamas-affiliated Felesteen newspaper, Hamas has already submitted its proposal to Israel and is awaiting a response from it. He claimed that Israel is procrastinating on the exchange deal in an attempt to transfer the ball to the court of the Palestinian Authority in order to get Hamas to abdicate its responsibility to the Palestinian people.

Jabarin said that the question of whether the "prisoners" (IDF missing persons who were declared dead) are alive or dead is a secret and added that for seven years, Israel has failed in its efforts to obtain information about them.

He stressed that Hamas would never agree to transfer the "prisoners" to Israel except as part of a respectable exchange deal and that the list of Palestinian prisoners released would include the six terrorist prisoners who escaped from the Gilboa Prison, four of whom have since been captured.