Israel Conditions Cease-fire Deal with Hamas on Return of Slain IDF Soldiers
Amid multiple media reports that Israel and Hamas are on the verge of forging a long-term cease-fire agreement, the Jewish state’s top diplomat has conditioned any such deal on the return of the remains of two slain soldiers. Hamas has refused to return the bodies of Lt. Hadar Goldin and St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed in the Gaza Strip during the 50-day war in 2014. Hamas is also holding captive two Israeli civilians who are believed to have crossed into the Palestinian enclave on their own accord. Nevertheless, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that there was still an opportunity for sustained “calm,” as while Hamas is a “murderous organization with a murderous ideology … they have to make practical decisions in the short term.” Despite repeated denials from top Hamas officials, Gaza’s terrorist rulers are apparently eager to reach some kind of “understanding” with Israel that would end hostilities in exchange for the easing of restrictions on the blockaded Palestinian territory.