Germany is reportedly mediating between Israel and the Gaza ruling movement, Hamas, for a prisoner exchange deal, according to a report by Al Hayat daily.
According to the report, based on Western sources, Germany initiated contact with both sides and emphasized that Israel and Hamas consider Germany a fair entity that can assist in talks, such as when Israel accepted Germanyâ€™s proposal to secure the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.
Germany began negotiations with Israel and Hamas three years ago, the report said, according to the PNN.
Additionally, two German envoys were said to have visited Gaza several times, in secret, and met with senior Hamas officials who were in charge of negotiations. Mediation took place through two channels, the report said: between German representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and with a third mediator located in Berlin.
While Israel holds over 7,000 Palestinians as prisoners, including children, Hamas holds two Israelis as detainees after they crossed the border into the Gaza Strip. Israel claims that Hamas also holds bodies of soldiers Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who were killed during the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014.
In the same war, over 2,000 Gazans, mostly civilians, were also killed.
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.