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Lieberman: Israel will not ease Gaza crisis

Israeli forces fire tear gas at Palestinians during a protest at the Gaza - Israel border on 8 June 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tel Aviv will not alleviate the crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip unless the Hamas offers a “humanitarian initiative” in return.

Speaking to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Lieberman explained that Hamas should release the bodies of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Shaul Aaron and return Avraham “Avera”  Mengistu who crossed from Israel to Gaza on his own.

“The Palestinians want a humanitarian initiative from Israel, Israel also wants a humanitarian initiative from Hamas,” he said.

Lieberman accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of “exacerbating the Gaza crisis by not transferring the full salaries of Gaza employees.”

Read: 49% of Gaza’s drugs have ran out, says ministry

He also accused Hamas of “investing its money in strengthening the tunnels as well as its military capabilities at the expense of improving the humanitarian conditions in Gaza.”

Authorities have repeatedly come under attack for their inaction with regards the return of Israeli soldiers captured in the Gaza Strip during “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014.

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