Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman confirms failed talks with Hamas

Despite Israel's announcement that it would not comment on progress in the talks with Hamas, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that there are "unremitting efforts to ensure the release of four of our citizens. We will not stop...until we see them in Israel."
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90/ Channel 2 News

During an excursion with journalists in Ashkelon on Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was asked by one reporter about the reports of talks with the Hamas leadership regarding the release of Israelis held in the Gaza Strip. "It should be clear- there are unremitting efforts to ensure the release of four of our citizens who are in the Gaza Strip," Lieberman said.

"We have two civilians and two soldiers in Gaza. We will not stop the efforts, not even for a moment, until we see them in Israel," the defense minister added. At this stage, however, he confirmed that "there has been no significant breakthrough." Earlier today, JOL reported that Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett spoke out against continuing negotiations with Hamas, arguing that Israel must not succumb to terrorists' demands. 

When asked whether canceling family visits with Hamas prisoners in Israeli prisons was another way to exert pressure in the negotiations, he replied: "Everything that needs to be done in order to bring about the release of our soldiers and our citizens in Hamas' hands- whatever needs to be done we will do." To conclude, Lieberman said: "I reiterate that our commitment to release our soldiers and our citizens is absolute and the effort has not stopped for a single moment. We continue putting in the maximum effort, period."

According to reports by Palestinian sources from over the weekend, the last session of negotiations with Hamas ended on Friday in Cairo, Egypt, at around 9:10 PM. No agreement was reached and no follow-up meetings were scheduled.

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