Hamas & Israel Prisoner Swap Being Discussed, But Friday “Day Of Rage” Looms
The ceasefire which took effect between Hamas and Israel on May 21 has successfully held now for nearly two weeks, also as PM Netanyahu appears to finally be out the door, and looks to further be leading to another significant potential detente between the warring sides.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar teased a prisoner-exchange agreement in progress with Israel. “There is a real opportunity to achieve progress” on this, he announced after a Monday meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel. He said that “in the coming days we will be witnessing a dialogue in Cairo with the aim of reaching agreements on the issues at hand.”
“We are confident that we are able to extract our rights,” he told reporters in Gaza. “I want to tell you something. Remember the number 1,111. What are the details of this number? I can’t say at this moment. But you need to remember this number well,” he added, which was a likely reference to the number of Hamas militants or Palestinian prisoners the group is seeking the release of as part of the possible looming deal.
As for what Israel might receive in return, The Jerusalem Post notes it’s a likely reference to “two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two soldiers held by the Gaza-based terrorist group.”
This and other key elements of a lasting ceasefire are expected to be worked out in talks hosted in Cairo between Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian factions in order to “unify the Palestinian position,” according to Sinwar’s words. The issue of a major prisoner exchange has been sporadically negotiated for years but typically gets derailed before much progress can ever get off the ground.
Hamas is demanding that international aid toward reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip not be linked to the prisoner exchange issue. This after $500 million has been pledged for reconstruction by the Egyptian government under President Sisi.
However, despite this reported “progress” early this week, there are signs that things could easily unravel, with Hamas now calling for a Palestinian “Day of Rage” to begin Friday.
— Yeni Şafak English (@yenisafakEN) June 1, 2021
The Times of Israel details of the Hamas statements:
The Hamas terror group urged Palestinians to hold a “Day of Rage” on Friday in order to confront what it called “settlers’ aggression” and the “storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem.
“This aggression will be met by our people with further resistance and confrontation,” the terror group said in a statement.
Despite the ceasefire mostly holding between Israel and the terror group in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas leadership was apparently still pushing for further unrest in the region.
Hamas called upon Palestinians to block Israeli bypass roads in the West Bank and to confront “settlers who are working to impose a fait accompli under the auspices of the occupation government.”
Last month’s flare up in major rocket fire from the strip and corresponding Israeli airstrikes began over intense conflict in Jerusalem, particularly claims of Israeli ethnic cleansing surrounding the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood evictions and Israeli police entering al-Aqsa Mosque.
And given that Hamas had initially warned that Israeli police must vacate the Aqsa complex or the Gaza-based group would start firing rockets (which they did), the weekend is poised to witness a possible round two of fighting unless further progress is made quickly.
Tue, 06/01/2021 – 13:43
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