Yoel Marshak
Yoel Marshak Hezki Baruch

Kan reports that Hamas has agreed in principle to allow an Israeli civilian to enter Gaza in an attempt to negotiate for a prisoner exchange deal.

For several years now, Sami Obeid, a prominent activist in Gaza, and Yoel Marshak, a member of the kibbutz movement, have been trying to promote a civilian initiative to find a solution to the issue of Israeli prisoners in Gaza. Under the current plan, Marshak and a representative of the prisoners' families will enter the Gaza Strip to discuss the issue.

Since 2018, Hamas has rejected this initiative, but at the beginning of this year, Sami Obeid contacted the Gaza Ministry of the Interior on the issue and received, for the first time, positive indications from Hamas. Marshak and the representative were required to hand over to Hamas a certain item that indicated their willingness to enter the Gaza Strip and they did so.

Hamas gave the green light and Marshak asked for a written commitment to guarantee it, but Hamas only agreed to give their word on the issue. Meanwhile for technical reasons, only Marshak remains in the picture of this initiative, without the representative.

In the past month and a half, Marshak has met with a senior security figure in Israel and updated him on the issue of Hamas' initiative and agreement in principle. He asked to be allowed to enter the Strip to advance the issue. The same senior security figure told him the matter would be investigated. To date, no response has been received on the subject.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said this morning that the purpose of the video released by Hamas is blackmail in the guise of a humanitarian issue and that attempts at blackmail will not affect Israel's conduct. At the Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv University, Gantz said that Hamas was holding the four Israelis in violation of law and morality. "Hamas is responsible for this and we expect the international community to act against Hamas. The State of Israel is employing by a variety of means and continues to take every possible measure to bring the boys home. This is a humanitarian issue and is being treated accordingly."

Hamas announced yesterday that there had been a medical deterioration in the condition of one of the Israelis held in Gaza, Hisham al-Sayed, and published documentation showing al-Sayyid lying in bed and attached to an oxygen tank. To verify the fact that this is up-to-date documentation, Hamas members filmed al-Sayed, with a television in the background showing a recent program from Qatar.