Israel seeks indirect talks over Hamas' captives
Israel has reportedly approached European mediators with channels to Hamas, to negotiate over the release of Israeli prisoners captured by the group's military wing during the war in Gaza in summer 2014.
Sources told al-Araby al-Jadeed that Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, contacted German and other European madiators a month ago to negotiate a swap with the Gaza-based group.
This comes despite Israel not recognising the prisoners in Gaza as alive, having officially declared them dead.
Despite public statements, indirect talks have reportedly commenced with Hamas about the Israeli soldiers it is believed to have in its custody.
The sources did not reveal whether the contacts were made inside Gaza or abroad, where many of the Hamas leaders live. Hamas' response and demands are not yet clear.
In the past, Hamas has set several conditions for prisoner swaps with Israel.
This included a demand for the release of 60 Palestinians held by Israel in exchange for the 2011 release of Corporal Gilad Shalit, who had been held in Gaza for five years.
|Hamas does not appear to be in hurry to conclude a deal with Israel.|
Hamas does not appear to be in hurry to conclude a deal with Israel.
Hamas officials have refused to respond to enquiries put forward by al-Araby al-Jadeed.
During Israel's last military assault on the Gaza Strip in 2014, Tel Aviv declared that a private, Shaul Aron, and an officer, Hadar Golden, were killed and their bodies were missing in Gaza.
The Qassam Brigades announced on 20 June 2014 that the private was in their custody and as a way of proof, released his military number.
The fate of Golden remains unknown.
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.