According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Press Office, Netanyahu met with 26 Israeli citizens who are relatives of those held captive in the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu argued that they are doing their best to bring back Israeli prisoners, saying, “We are doing our best, but the more publicized these efforts become, the less likely they are to succeed. The more secret these efforts are, the more likely they are to succeed.”
Asking Israeli families to understand, Netanyahu said that they are really trying to bring back all the prisoners from Gaza.
Pointing out that they are continuing their efforts in secret, Netanyahu said that although it is too early to talk about how it will be, there will be some developments in this sense in the coming days.
Israeli prisoners in Gaza
On October 7, 2023, Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, launched a comprehensive attack on Israel on the grounds of “responding to the continuous violations against Palestinians and holy values, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque”, while many Israelis were captured.
On November 24, 2023, 81 Israeli and 240 Palestinian prisoners were mutually released during the “humanitarian pause” in the fighting in Gaza, which was declared for 4 days on November 24, 2023 and then extended for 3 days. Hamas still holds 136 Israeli prisoners.
In an interview in Washington on January 28, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdurrahman Al Thani said that the US, Israel, Egypt and Qatar were holding negotiations in Paris, the capital of France, on a ceasefire and prisoner swap in Gaza.
White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby told the American MSNBC channel that a framework for a ceasefire and prisoner swap negotiated in Paris between US, Qatari, Egyptian and Israeli officials had emerged, and that concrete progress had been made, especially on prisoner swaps.