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Israeli defence minister says 'ready to talk to Hamas'

Gantz said Israel was prepared to talk to Hamas [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 November, 2020

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Following talks with UN coordinator Nikolai Mladenov, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has expressed willingness to negotiate with Hamas regarding conditions in Gaza.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has expressed his country’s willingness to engage in talks with the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the besieged Gaza Strip.

Following a meeting with the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov on Monday, Gantz said Israel was prepared “to arrive at a solution and contribute to improved conditions for the residents of Gaza” as long as Hamas agrees to the release of Israeli soldiers it has captured.

However, the defence minister also accused Hamas of “violation of our sovereignty” in southern Israel.

He thanked Mladenov for “helping facilitate the resumption” of security coordination with President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

There was no immediate comment by Hamas regarding Gantz’s Twitter posts.

Read also: Don't look to Washington for peace in Israel-Palestine

The Gaza Strip, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007, suffers from acute shortages of food and medicine as well as high levels of unemployment and regular electricity cuts.

Hamas currently holds four Israeli prisoners, including two soldiers it captured during Israel’s 2014 war against Gaza. It has demanded the release of some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails in exchange for the release of the detained Israelis.

Gantz heads the centrist Blue and White political alliance, which is currently in an uneasy government coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party.

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