A senior Hamas official says the Palestinian resistance group is prepared to hold indirect talks with Israel about the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.
“The talks will begin very soon, and apparently will take place in Cairo with Egyptian intermediaries,” Israeli media quoted Mohammed Nazel, an official from Hamas’ political wing, as saying on Thursday.
This came after Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told Press TV that “the cause of our prisoners is our priority, achieving their freedom is our duty,” adding that “God willing we will get their freedom and their families will have them back in their arms, I wish them all the soonest release.”
In 2011, the resistance movement reached an agreement for a prisoner exchange with the Israeli regime.
Hamas is holding the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin and St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul.
According to Palestinian sources, about 7,000 Palestinians are being held in 17 Israeli prisons, many of them without charge or trial.
On September 26, the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies said Israel was holding 540 Palestinians without trial, showing an increase in the number of these cases over the past six years.
The Palestinian human rights organization noted that the number of the Palestinians in Israeli administrative detention is the highest since 2008.
According to the group, Israel has used the detention policy for scores of Palestinians arrested since June, following the disappearance and deaths of three Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.