Israel to withhold bodies of killed militants

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The decision by the Israeli security cabinet followed the release on Sunday by the Palestinian group of a mock birthday party for Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, believed by the army to have been killed in the 2014 Gaza war. The move aims to pressure the Palestinian Islamist group into returning the bodies of killed Israeli soldiers as well as missing civilians, Reuters reported. It is true, however, that the Israeli government has been making little progress when it comes to retrieving the remains of those killed in the Gaza War.

The Al-Qassam Brigades said in a New Year's Eve statement that it had posted online "two video clips to mark the 23rd birthday of the Zionist soldier and prisoner Oron Shaul". This is not the first time Hamas fighters have gloated over killing 21-year-old Oron Shaul; shortly after it was confirmed that he was dead, militants openly mocked his family's huge grief and suffering.

The Israeli security cabinet, made up of four senior ministers, said on 1 January this would be the country's new policy for dealing with the bodies of militants in future.

In an effort to push Hamas into returning two Israelis it is detaining and the remains of two soldiers, Israel announced on Sunday it would no longer return the remains of deceased militants, choosing to bury them instead.

"These decisions will not give positive results", he said, Deutsche Welle reports. Now, any bodies its army captures will be buried immediately, but may be exhumed and returned if Hamas agrees to deals. In the past, Israel has buried the bodies of slain militants at secret locations in remote parts of the country.

Israeli officials have reportedly indicated they are willing to repeat past amnesties of detained Palestinians to recover the soldiers and civilians held by Hamas. However, Hamas had demanded preliminary release of prisoners before it discussed such a deal.

But the worldwide community refused to accept the results, demanding that Hamas renounce violence, recognize Israel and respect agreements signed between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

Russian Federation will try to insert itself in Palestinian affairs by promoting a rapprochement between Fatah and Gaza rulers Hamas, the Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

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