Sunday 27 September 2020

Hamas: Zionists held in Gaza won’t be released without real swap deal

The Hamas resistance movement says the Israeli captives held in Gaza since Tel Aviv’s 2014 war on the blockaded Palestinian enclave will not be released until a “real” agreement is reached on exchanging prisoners.

“A real prisoner exchange deal is the best way for the release of the captive Israelis,” Hamas Spokesman Hazem Qassem told China’s Xinhua news agency on Monday.

“Otherwise, the Zionist leadership will be just selling illusions to the Israeli public,” he added, referring to new Israeli war minister Benny Gantz’s recent talks with the families of two Israeli civilians held by Hamas as well as two Israeli soldiers who were killed in the 2014 war on Gaza and whose remains the Palestinians are willing to swap with their own prisoners.

Israel keeps thousands of Palestinians behind bars in dire conditions even despite a new coronavirus outbreak in the occupied territories. Many international rights organizations have been campaigning for the release of the inmates amid the pandemic.

In separate remarks, Qassem denounced the US for attacking the International Criminal Court (ICC) over its plan to open an investigation into Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories, calling it an act of “hooliganism” against an international legal tribunal.

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