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Israel insists it will not ease siege imposed on Gaza

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz pledged on Monday that the besieged Gaza Strip, the tiny enclave that is home to more than 2 million Palestinians, will not be “economically rehabilitated” without the return of the Israelis held captive “and without security stability”, AP has reported.

Gantz was referring to the Israeli soldiers captured by the Palestinian resistance during the 2014 Israeli military offensive against Gaza. The Israeli government believes that the men are dead and wants their remains to be returned. The Palestinian resistance, though, has not revealed any details about their condition but has hinted several times that they could be alive.

On Monday, the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, said that a meeting with UN Peace Process Envoy Tor Wennesland had produced no indication that there were intentions to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the Strip. Israel, said Sinwar, is “blackmailing” Hamas to hand over the captives in exchange for the lifting of the siege. He insisted that this will not succeed.