July 14, 2020

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11-Jan-17: Is there a new prisoner release deal?

Released terrorists received as heroes in Gaza by Hamas after the Shalit
Deal, October 2011 [Image Source]

In a rather strangely worded article today, Ynet reports on the substance of an article appearing in a major Arabic-language Israeli newspaper published in Nazareth, Kul al-Arab, that asserts another prisoner-release deal has been achieved or is close to being done between the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza and the government of Israel.

The main points in summary:

  • The deal, if one indeed has been done, is brokered by Qatar. Ynet says a Qatari official, Mohammad al-Amadi, who supervises Qatar’s rehabilitation projects in Gaza, is involved in the negotiations.
  • For its part, Hamas would hand over the bodies (Ynet oddly calls this “the release“) of two IDF soldiers presumed to have been killed in action during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. It is widely believed that Hamas has held those bodies for ransom since that time. The soldiers are Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul.
  • In Ynet’s language, the transaction “may also involve the return of Avraham ‘Abera’ Mengistu, an Ethiopian-Israeli reportedly held hostage by Hamas after he was seen crossing the border into Gaza out of his own volition in 2014.” The popular sense here is that, despite the silence, Mengistu is believed to be alive. His family are said to know nothing at all about a deal.
  • The Hamas conditions include Israel releasing 60 of the Shalit Deal prisoners who were unjustly released in October/November 2011 (almost all of whom were convicted of homicide in varying degrees) and who were subsequently arrested and re-imprisoned in Israel. 
  • Israel, according to the quoted source, conditioned this re-release of Shalit Deal prisoners on their being expelled to the Gaza Strip or to Qatar. Hamas rejected the condition, the report says. Readers are left with the impression that the Hamas stance prevailed, and the terrorists will not be subject to expulsion. 

The Israel National News version of this report [here] concludes with

“Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) has said he will not deal with Hamas for dead bodies.”

This might all be nonsense or spot on or something in between.

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