The Palestinian Hamas movement announced on Friday that Israel is asking Turkey, Germany, Qatar and Egypt to intervene in a prisoner exchange deal with it.
This was stated by Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, in an interview broadcast on the “Al-Aqsa” satellite channel (affiliated with the movement).
Al-Arouri said, “Israel is asking Egypt, Turkey, Germany and Qatar to intervene in a deal, and we will not give Israel anything for free.”
He added, “There is nothing substantive in the exchange deal, we just handed over a roadmap to the mediators (he didn’t mention them).”
On Wednesday, a member of the movement’s political bureau, Zaher Jabarin, told The Eastern Herald that “Hamas” provided mediators with a framework for a prisoner exchange deal, but it did not receive a positive response, stressing “its readiness to end the deal as soon as possible.”
And Al-Arouri added: “There is no door to liberating prisoners except through exchange deals that force Israel to release prisoners, especially prisoners of life.”
Regarding the prisoners who escaped from Gilboa prison in northern Israel, who were recently re-arrested, he stated that “the escape process affected the Zionist society deeply, and the six prisoners dealt a blow to Israel.”
He continued: “The heroes of the Freedom Tunnel reminded the Palestinian people with all their might that there are heroic prisoners who must be liberated, and it is our duty to get them out of the prison doors despite Israel, as happened in the exchange deals.”
On September 6, six Palestinian prisoners escaped through a tunnel from their cell outside Gilboa prison. Four of them were re-arrested on 10 and 11 of the same month, while the last two were arrested last Sunday.
Hamas keeps four Israelis, including two soldiers who were captured during the war on Gaza in the summer of 2014 (without disclosing their fate or health status), and the other two who entered the Strip in unclear circumstances during the past years.
Israel detains about 4,850 Palestinians in 23 prisons and detention centers, including 41 female prisoners, 225 children, and 540 administrative detainees (without charge), according to institutions specialized in prisoners’ affairs.