Backchannel talks over a prisoner exchange are going on between Israel and Hamas amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On April 1, Israel's Defence Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters that Tel Aviv was willing to provide humanitarian relief to Gaza in exchange for "recovery of the fallen" referring to Hadar Golden and Shaul Aaron, two Israeli soldiers who went missing in the Gaza strip during the 2014 war. 

The backchannel talks have been ongoing ever since, although Israel has not officially confirmed them. Media reports however indicate the two sides are engaged in negotiations with Germany, Russia and Egypt involved as mediators. 

The fate of two soldiers Hadar Goldin and Shaul Aaron has been a point of contention in the past as Israel initially claimed that they both were killed, asking Hamas to return their mortal remains. But Hamas always maintained that they both were alive and under their custody. 

In 2017, Israel's Ministry of Defence changed the status of the soldiers from dead to "lost and captive".

The most recent reports suggest the talks are going through a rough patch. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the Israeli side was not serious over the issue but kept the doors open saying there's still a chance to reach an agreement. 

Hamas' armed wing Izzeddin al Kassam Brigade announced that it had four Israeli soldiers in April 2016 and did not provide further information about the status of the soldiers.

The Israeli side also claimed that two more citizens, one of Ethiopian origin, Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al Sayed, were in Gaza.

Can they approach a possible agreement plan?

Hamas wants to carry out the swap deal in two stages, the first one is the freeing of Al Sayed and Mengistu in exchange for humanitarian aid for Gaza that is so susceptible to the coronavirus pandemic.

The second step is the release of Palestinian prisoners, who are held in Israel and sick, including children, elderly and women, in return for freeing Hadar Goldin and Shaul Aaron.

Hamas also demands the release of high profile members of the group and other Palestinian factions who were let go by Israel in the 2011 prisoner exchange but rearrested soon after.

However, Israel insists on a single round deal for the prisoner swap.

There have been several prisoner exchanges between Israel and Palestine in recent history. In 1985, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners were freed in exchange for several soldiers captured by Palestinians in Lebanon.

Moreover, more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were exchanged for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who held hostage by the Hamas in Gaza, in 2011.