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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Netanyahu says no Gaza deal without return of soldiers' remains

Talks brokered by Egypt and the United Nations are under way to pave way for truce

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Israel July 23, 2018. Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Israel July 23, 2018. Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there would be no cease-fire deal with Gaza Strip leaders without the return of the remains of two soldiers missing since 2014, following a meeting with the men’s families.

Mr Netanyahu “met with the Goldin and Shaul families and told them that there would be no arrangement in the Gaza Strip without the return of the boys,” his office said in an emailed statement Sunday.

Talks brokered by Egypt and the United Nations are under way to end five months of protests at the Gaza border and pave the way to a multi-year ceasefire, including the lifting of a decade-long Israeli blockade of the territory and the financing of major infrastructure projects.

If no deal for the return of the bodies can be arranged, Israel may agree only to much smaller gestures to ease Gaza’s humanitarian situation in exchange for quiet at the border.