A statement released by three Palestinian armed groups claiming responsibility for the Kerem Shalom Israeli crossing attack Sunday demanded that Israel release all women and children detainees in Israeli prisons in exchange for information about the soldier who was abducted during the attack.
The three factions involved are the Al Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, Salah Ed Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, and a new group which calls itself Army of Islam.
In a pamphlet sent to local Gaza media outlets Monday, the three factions said that they will not reveal any information on the abducted Israeli soldier until Israel releases all women and child prisoners “because they are held in violation principles of human rights”.
According to recent figures released by Israel sources, at least 313 Palestinian children and 95 women are imprisoned in Israeli prisons and detention facilities.
“The [Israeli] occupation will not receive any information on the missing soldiers unless it abides by the following; release all female prisoners in Israeli prison, and children under the age of 18”, the statement read.
Israel officially rejected the demands and said that it would not negotiate with the fighters over the release of the soldier.
Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon said that Israel “has no intention of negotiating with Hamas on a prisoners swap”.
A senior Israeli military intelligence officer said Monday morning that the abducted soldier is being held in the Gaza Strip by senior members of Hamas’ armed wing.
"The Occupation [Israel] will not get any information about its missing soldier unless it abides by the following: release all female prisoners in Israeli jails… and children under the age of 18," the statement said.
Responding to the demands, Israel reiterated its position that it would not negotiate with fighters over the return of the soldier.
Several detainees who are sentenced to multiple life terms demanded the fighters use the abducted soldier in order to pressure Israel on the release of women and children in addition to the release of the sick detainees who are deprived from their medication and basic rights guaranteed by the international law.
Issa Qaraqe’, Palestinian Legislative Council member and previous head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, demanded the Palestinian government start preparing the legal and political documents for the prisoners swap.
Qaraqe’ said there are more than 9,000 detainees currently imprisoned by Israel, including 60 who were arrested more than twenty years ago.