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Lieberman Refuses to Deal With Hamas, Predicts Bodies of Fallen Soldiers Won't Be Returned

Israeli defense minister's stance on the issue contradicts the public pronouncements of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said he feels a 'deep commitment to bringing the boys home. It is always with me.'

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said in recent private conversations that he doesn't believe the bodies of Israel Defense Forces soldiers 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul will be returned to Israel from the Gaza Strip
According to a report on Channel 10 TV on Monday night, Lieberman said that he does not intend doing a deal with Hamas, which is holding the bodies of the two soldiers killed during the 2014 war in Gaza.
"I don't see it happening," Lieberman is reported to have said about the return of the bodies.
The defense minister's bureau refused to respond to the report, saying that Lieberman has not commented on the issue recently.
That said, the bureau confirmed that Lieberman has always been opposed to a prisoner swap like the ones that have been conducted periodically over the years. For that reason, it said, he opposed the Gilad Shalit deal in 2011.
The minister believes that "no one should ever think that terror pays," his bureau said.
Lieberman's stance contradicts the public pronouncements of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the issue. Netanyahu has never announced what he is prepared to pay for the return of the two bodies, but he said about a month ago at a memorial ceremony marking the second anniversary of the war that he feels "a deep commitment to bringing the boys home. It is always with me. I will never stop dealing with it, even if it takes time."
Haaretz reported about two months ago that indirect negotiations with Hamas on the return of the bodies – as well as to determine the fate of Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two Israeli citizens missing in Gaza – had hit obstacles and that serious contacts between the sides had not yet begun.
In Israel's view, Hamas had set unacceptable conditions for the commencement of the talks, among them a demand for the mass release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Amos Harel
Haaretz Correspondent
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.739278
Schermata 2016 08 29 alle 21.14.28

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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