Hamas rejects to release bodies of IDF soldiers as part of cease-fire

The Hamas organization announced that it will not return bodies of IDF soldiers that have been killed during the 2014 Gaza war, as well as several Israeli civilians that entered into Gaza, and are being held by the Islamist group in the Palestinian enclave. Hamas emphasized that only the release of “serious” Palestinian prisoners would bring about an exchange for progress in the talks over the return of the Israeli civilians and slain IDF soldiers, including Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. On the other hand, Israel opposes the release of any Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands and has demanded that any broad humanitarian arrangement begin with the return of the Israeli civilians and the soldiers’ bodies. Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, who met before the security cabinet meeting with members of the Goldin family and heard its demand to condition any arrangement with Hamas upon the return of the boys, posted on Twitter: “The situation in Gaza is boiling down to a critical point—either an arrangement or war. I will support any plan that will include putting Egyptian infrastructure in place in the sea and on land for Gaza with international supervision. In the short term, any aid to Gaza must be conditioned on a clear arrangement for the return of the dead soldiers’ bodies and the captives.”

Meanwhile, the families of the two slain Israeli soldiers held by the Islamist Hamas, staged a protest in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, during which they called on the Israeli leader to withhold any agreement with the Islamist Palestinians unless they retrieve the bodies of the soldiers. “It is not going, it is not understandable that our Prime Minster (Benjamin Netanyahu) will provide humanitarian aid to Gaza and initiate arrangements and other solutions for Gaza without requesting the return of Hadar (Goldin) and Oron (Shaul) as a first step,” Mother of IDF soldier killed in 2014 Gaza war.