By Abdelraouf Arnaout and Nour Abu Aisha
JERUSALEM (AA) - Palestinian resistance group Hamas has agreed to allow an Israeli national to enter the Gaza Strip, in a bid to bring back communications regarding a prisoner swap deal with Israel, Israeli media said on Wednesday.
According to the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation, Gazan activist Sami Obeid and Yoel Marshak, head of the Kibbutz Movement have been seeking to promote a civil initiative to find a solution to the issue of prisoners and missing persons between Hamas and Israel.
"Since 2018, Hamas has rejected this initiative, but at the beginning of this year, Sami Obeid contacted the Ministry of Interior in Gaza regarding the matter, and for the first time received positive indications from Hamas," the broadcaster said.
It pointed out that "Hamas gave the green light, and Marshak asked for a written commitment to ensure this, but Hamas only agreed to give verbal consent in this regard."
In the past month and a half, Marshak met with a senior security official in Israel, and briefed him on the subject of the Hamas initiative and its initial approval, and demanded that he be allowed to enter Gaza to make progress on the dossier.
"The same senior security official told him that the matter would be investigated, but so far, no response has been received on this matter," the corporation said.
There was no comment from Hamas or the Ministry of Interior on the report.
- Israeli refusal
Obeid, for his part, said that more than two months ago, Hamas gave permission to three Israeli citizens to enter the Gaza Strip, a move that Israel is still refusing.
This visit comes as part of a "humanitarian initiative launched years ago to move the file of soldiers held by Hamas," Obeid told Anadolu Agency.
He elaborated that the three citizens were Marshak and the mother and sister of Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, held by Hamas.
On Tuesday, the Qassam Bridges, the armed wing of Hamas, released a short video of an Israeli in its captivity.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, is believed to hold four Israelis, two of whom were captured following the 2014 Israeli offensive on the seaside territory. Two other Israelis are believed to have been held after they entered Gaza under unclear circumstances.
Hamas hopes to swap the Israeli captives for many of the 4,600 Palestinians languishing in Israeli prisons.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat in Ankara