Israeli authorities have enlisted an Egyptian mediation team to advance negotiations with Hamas over a prisoner exchange, according to Al-Araby Al Jadeed.
The team has been instructed to tell Hamas that its request for vulnerable prisoners to be released could be advanced if it discloses information on the status of the four Israelis currently held in the Gaza Strip.
Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, hinted earlier this month that the group would be open to such a deal if Israel agrees to release female, elderly and vulnerable Palestinian prisoners due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
On April 7, After weeks of speculation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed willingness to enter into a prisoner exchange with Hamas.
On April 1, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett suggested that Israel will condition any assistance to the besieged Gaza Strip, in its desperate fight against the Coronavirus, on the release of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.
Besieged and war-stricken Gaza is struggling to cope with the full out of the COVID-19 disease, which is caused by the Coronavirus. Thirteen people have already been reported to have the Coronavirus. However, health experts say the number could be much higher, especially since Gaza’s healthcare system, which is on the verge of collapse, is unequipped to diagnose or to care for COVID-19 patients.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle