Gantz: There are promising initial indications of progress on a new agreement to release hostages from Gaza


Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz said that there are ongoing attempts to reach a new prisoner exchange deal with the Palestinian factions, and there are preliminary indications of the possibility of moving forward with it.

This came in a press conference held by Gantz, head of the opposition National Unity Party, on Wednesday evening.

He said, “There is no stone left unturned in order to achieve the mission of returning the abductees, which concerns the entire Israeli society, and for which the leadership bears responsibility”.

Gantz added, “There are attempts these days to push for a new deal, and initial signs indicate the possibility of moving forward… We’ll not stop searching for the way (Israeli prisoners detained in Gaza), and we won’t waste any opportunity to return the girls and boys to their homes”.

Gantz continued, “On the battlefield, we are embarking on an operation in Rafah (south of the Gaza Strip), which will begin after the area is evacuated of residents (displaced Palestinians)”.

Gantz went on to say, “The importance of clearing Rafah lies in the ability to strike Hamas forces operating there, and the need to disarm the Gaza Strip.”

He continued threateningly, “I repeat, if there is no deal to return the kidnapped people, we will also (continue the war on the Gaza Strip) during the month of Ramadan”.

Gantz said, “Today (Wednesday) we voted in the Knesset by a large majority on a resolution opposing the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state”.

He continued by saying, “After October 7, it would be a mistake to provide such support for a Palestinian state to terrorism… Political settlements must be made directly, otherwise they won’t be sustainable”.

According to Gantz, “In any future situation, Israel will maintain its superiority and ability to conduct security operations in the entire Gaza Strip… Our mission is 100 percent security control without civilian control”.

He said that many parties can operate civilian in the Gaza Strip, but not Hamas.

He continued, “We’ll not allow the killers to return to control the places where the Israeli army was operating, and we are studying a number of options until aid is delivered to Gaza through an international administration from moderate Arab countries with the support of the United States”.

Gantz added, “We’re working to strengthen the moderate axis in confronting Iran, and to establish a regional administration that will help the Palestinians form another ruling system in Gaza, and ensure that investments are also directed to changing school curricula, as our friends did in the United Arab Emirates”.

Gantz touched on what was raised about the Israeli government adopting decisions to restrict the entry of Palestinians to al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem during the upcoming month of Ramadan.

Gantz claimed that Israel respects freedom of worship, and will work to allow the largest possible number of believers to ascend to the Temple Mount safely and securely during the month of Ramadan.

Even in light of the security situation, we will preserve religious freedom and the sanctity of the month and will only take action against those who expose us to danger.

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