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Gantz: Gaza rebuilding hinges on long-term quiet, return of soldiers’ bodies

Defense Minister Benny Gantz tells reporters the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip following the 11-day conflict with Palestinian terror groups will be conditioned on the return of the bodies of IDF soldiers, as well as long-term quiet.

“What was is not what will be. I spoke to the Americans, Egyptians and many other international representatives and clarified that… we will demand that the Gaza Strip’s rehabilitation be accompanied by long-term quiet and the return of the soldiers [remains, held by Hamas since 2014],” says Gantz, according to a Hebrew-language statement from his office on his meeting with the foreign press.

“In addition, we will work to strengthen our relationship with the Palestinian Authority, which I hope will want to take responsibility for some of what happens in Gaza,” he adds.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi (L) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (R). (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Minister)

Gantz also addresses a future war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist organization.

“What we saw in Gaza will be a tenth of what will happen in Lebanon,” he says, referring to Israel’s Operation Guardian of the Walls earlier this month. “It will be a complex fight because Hezbollah is hiding 100,000 missiles, some of them precision and long-range [missiles], and all of them are [embedded] among the civilian population,” says Gantz.

He also warns that the Iran nuclear deal, which the US is negotiating to rejoin, is not sufficiently strong. The treaty, in its current form, leaves Iran 6-7 years away from obtaining nuclear weapons, warns Gantz.

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