Israel reiterates linking reconstruction of Gaza with release of its soldiers

Large scale destruction in Gaza (Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  December 20, 2021

Israel has reiterated linking the reconstruction of Gaza with reaching a prisoner swap deal that sees its soldiers released, Quds Net News reported yesterday.

This came following a meeting between an Egyptian security delegation and Israeli officials, according to Al Arabiya TV.According to the Saudi channel, Egyptian sources said that Israel also had some reservations about Hamas’ demands.

Israel believes the bodies of two of its soldiers, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and Sergeant Oron Shaul, are being held in Gaza after they were killed in battle during the 2014 assault on the enclave. This is in addition to two alleged civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who Hamas says are also soldiers and are being held as prisoners of war.

Hamas has repeatedly stressed that it will not allow the issue of the reconstruction of Gaza to be tied to any potential prisoner swap with the occupation.

On Saturday, local news sites in Gaza reported that an Egyptian delegation entered the Strip to follow up on the progress of Egyptian projects in Gaza.

Last week, Hamas blamed Egypt for not doing enough to force Israel to commit to its obligations with regards reconstruction.