The official paper of the Hamas terrorist organization, Palestine, published on Saturday a full-page article dissecting the chances of reaching a prisoner swap with Israel, similar to the 2011 Gilad Shalit in which 1,027 terrorists were released.
Hamas is in a position to discuss the possibility given the fact that it is holding the bodies of two fallen IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, as well as 26-year-old Avraham Mengistu and another as-yet unnamed Bedouin Arab citizen of Israel. News of the two live captives was cleared for publication last Thursday, although Mengistu, who suffers from mental illness, reportedly entered Gaza last September.
In the Hamas article alleged experts on Israeli matters were interviewed, and provided an analysis of the reaction in Israel to news of the two abducted Israelis and the possible influence of that reaction on the balance of power in negotiations between Israel and Hamas.
One of those interviewed was Dr. Salah al-Na'ami, who said, "we are at the start of a great storm in Israel, and it will be a source of pressure on the circle of (Israeli – ed.) decision-makers to end the matter by reaching a deal."
"Recently Israeli newspapers have started to conduct interviews with the family of the settler of Ethiopian background (Mengistu – ed.), and I think that is the start of actions to end the matter," said al-Na'ami. "There will be a political and media-based atmosphere pressuring the decision-makers in Israel."
In the 2011 Shalit deal, a long-running media campaign and popular protest movement in Israel calling for the government to give in to Hamas demands and secure the captive soldier's release at any cost was largely credited with the eventual deal, lending credence to al-Na'ami's appraisal.
Many warned at the time that giving in to such an uneven deal would encourage future abductions, and pressed instead for a military operation to release the captive.
"Israeli prisons will be emptied"
Another alleged expert Ibrahim Jaber was also quoted in the article, and said that the Israeli government will be prepared to pay any price to close the matter.
"It could be that in the frame of this deal the Israeli prisons will be completely emptied" of Arab terrorists, appraised Jaber.
"Israel will pay any price, even for a little part of (the body of) a soldier, and that teaches about the concern of the Israeli establishment for its soldiers, because this topic creates a public opinion that the occupation government is worried about, and in particular Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu," stated Jaber.
He added that the narrowness of the Netanyahu's coalition government, which has just the bare majority of 61 MKs, would be an additional constraint pressuring the government into concessions at any cost.
Hamas has already let it be known that its demands will be steep, including the release of all recidivist terrorists freed in the Shalit deal who were rearrested, as well as the fourth batch of terrorists that were meant to be released in early 2014 as peace talk "gestures" – before the talks were torpedoed and their released was cancelled, a previous 78 terrorists went free.