Israeli cabinet discusses Gaza situation; chances of long-term agreement seen as slim

By YONA SCHNITZER

JERUSALEM (TPS) — Following a five hour debate on efforts to reach a long-term ceasefire in Gaza and a briefing by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, the Security Cabinet issued a laconic statement Sunday evening that “the IDF is ready for any eventuality.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, at Security Cabinet meeting of August 5, 2018. (Photo by Shay Vaknin/TPS)

According to reports, no decision was reached and chances of an agreement are considered minimal. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was said to have expressed doubts that any long-term agreement could be reached with Hamas.

Other reports said the only viable option on the table is for Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza if quiet is maintained on the border.

Further hampering the Egyptian-mediated efforts to reach a ceasefire is the issue of the two Israeli civilians being held by Hamas – Ethiopian-born Abera Mengistu and Bedouin-Israeli Hisham al-Sayed, as well as the remains of two IDF soldiers, Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In exchange for the return of their remains, Hamas has reportedly demanded the release of prisoners who were originally released in the Gilad Shalit deal in 2011, but have since been detained and incarcerated by Israel again. Israel refuses to comply with the latest demands.

Earlier, Leah Goldin, the mother of Hadar Goldin criticized the government’s willingness to discuss a ceasefire without first securing the remains of her son, saying “Exactly four years ago, Hadar was sent by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers to protect the State of Israel, she began. “They sent him – unprotected – during a ceasefire. Hamas took advantage of it and abducted Hadar into the tunnels. Those same ministers, with unbearable gall, want to tell me they’re going to talk about a ceasefire. They have yet to solve the previous ceasefire in which my son was abducted. What ceasefire are they talking about? what is this outrage?”

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