An Israeli soldier, captured June 25th by Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza, was the original impetus for an Israeli invasion that has resulted in the deaths of over 100 Palestinians in Gaza and the destruction of infrastructure and government buildings. Sunday, representatives from the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in Palestine, called on those holding the soldier to keep him alive.
"The life of the soldier must be maintained before the enemy meets the humanitarian and political demands of the Palestinian people," said Salah Bardaweel, spokesman for Hamas parliamentary bloc. He said that a prisoner swap with Israel was the only way toward the release of the Israeli soldier.
Those holding the soldier had conditioned his release on the release of 1,000 Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli jails, a demand which was rejected by Israel.
Some Israeli legislators are also calling for a ‘prisoner swap’ to defuse the escalating situation, but the Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister have refused, saying, "We will not negotiate with terrorists". The resistance groups that claim holding the soldier are termed ‘terrorists’ by Israel, despite the fact that the seizure of the soldier was a military operation carried out against an occupying military force, in accordance with international law. The father of the captured soldier, and parents of soldiers who were captured in the past by Palestinian fighters, have also called for a ‘prisoner swap’ to defuse the situation and allow for the soldier’s release.
Over 8,000 Palestinians are currently being held as prisoners-of-war in Israeli prison camps, many of them detained at the Ashkelon camp in the Negev desert. 1,000 of those are being held without charge, in ‘administrative detention’. These detentions consist of six months of detention, and then extensions of the detention for six months, in direct contravention of international law.