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Israel, Hamas swap blame for failed prisoner exchange talks

Both Hamas and Israel want to reach a prisoner exchange deal, but talks appear to be at an impasse over a group of Palestinian prisoners released in a previous exchange but later rearrested.
Palestinian Hamas militants stand guard during a rally marking Palestinian Prisoner Day, in Gaza City April 17, 2016. The sign reads, "The enemy will not know news about you unless it pays heavy prices." REUTERS/Mohammed Salem - RTX2AARA
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Against the backdrop of a recent serious escalation of the security threat along Israel's southern border, Israeli media published reports on negotiations for a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas. Leaks about the negotiations, sourced to spokesmen from both sides, were intended to put pressure on the opposing side and to present their red lines regarding any potential deal. Both sides now share a desire to reach a deal.

Hamas is in crisis and therefore wants to show the people of Gaza that it has accomplished something. Meanwhile in Israel, the families of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, soldiers killed during the 2014 Gaza war, are intensely pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the members of his government to bring that episode to an end by obtaining the return of their sons' bodies, so they can give them proper burials.

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