Bennett meets with UN Middle East envoy

Israel's Defense Minister meets with Nickolay Mladenov to discuss Israeli efforts to stop Iranian entrenchment in Syria, situation in Gaza.

Hezki Baruch ,

Bennett with Mladenov
Bennett with Mladenov
Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett met Wednesday afternoon with the United Nations’ special envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, to discuss the security situation in Israel.

The meeting, held in Bennett’s offices in the Defense Ministry, focused on the recent flare up between Israel and the Gaza Strip, along with tensions on the Israel-Syria border, following an Iranian attack on Israel from Syrian territory, and a series of Israeli retaliatory strikes.

During the meeting, Bennett emphasized that under no circumstances would Israel tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria, and that Israel would continue to use force to prevent Iran from entrenching its forces in Syria.

Regarding the Gaza Strip, the two discussed issues relating to Israel’s security interests, along with Bennett’s announcement earlier Wednesday that the Defense Ministry would no longer permit the return of terrorists’ remains to their families.

Bennett declared Wednesday morning that the Ministry had decided to change its policy on the return of terrorists’.

The decision came after several discussions with senior defense officials regarding the issue of Israel's deterrence.

Following the decision, all of the bodies held by Israel and those which Israel will hold in the future will not be released, regardless of the type of attack the terrorist carried out or attempted to carry out, and regardless of which terror organization he belonged to.

Special exceptions (such as minor terrorists) will be weighed by the Defense Minister in accordance with the situation.

The new policy will be presented to the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet as part of a broad process to increase Israel's deterrence. It will be applied following the Cabinet's approval.

In September, Israel's Supreme Court okayed holding terrorists' bodies for the purpose of negotiations.



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