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Israeli Minister Optimistic About Hostage Release, Hints At Signs Of Progress On New Framework

21.02.2024 23:27

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz reiterates ‘Israel is prepared to launch its Rafah offensive during Ramadan if hostage deal is not reached’

The Israeli War Cabinet minister on Wednesday expressed optimism about the release of hostages held captive by Hamas, saying there are some initial signs of progress on the new framework.

Benny Gantz said at a press conference that "we will not miss any opportunity to bring the hostages home."

Though the Israeli minister mentioned some forward movement in the new framework, indicating the release of hostages, he did not provide any additional information and details of negotiations with Hamas.

Concerning Rafah, which is crowded with nearly 1.4 million Palestinians amid an intensified Israeli army attack on the Gaza Strip, Gantz said, "On the battlefield, we are in the process in Rafah, which will begin after the evacuation of the area from residents."

"The importance of cleansing Rafah lies in the ability to strike the Hamas forces operating there and the need to disarm the Gaza Strip."

The war Cabinet minister reiterated that "Israel is prepared to launch its Rafah offensive during Ramadan if a hostage deal is not reached by the time the Muslim holy month starts around March 10."

He praised the Israeli parliament or Knesset vote rejecting the recognition of a Palestinian state.

According to Gantz, "In any future situation, Israel will maintain its superiority and its ability to carry out security operations in the entire Gaza Strip. Our mission is - 100% security control without civilian control."

He continued, "We will not allow killers to return to control the places where the Israeli army operated, and we are considering a number of options to deliver aid to Gaza through international administration from moderate Arab countries with the support of the United States."

"We are working to strengthen the moderate axis against Iran and establish regional management to help Palestinians form another governance system in Gaza, ensuring that investments are also directed towards changing the educational curriculum, as our friends in the United Arab Emirates have done," emphasized Gantz.

*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala -

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