World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed Lior Lotan as his new special coordinator for captive or missing Israelis.
According to a statement by Netanyahu's office, Lotan is to replace David Meidan who requested to step down after three years in office on a voluntary basis, during which he was involved in the negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit.
“Israel is obligated to bring home its (missing in action) MIAs. I would like to thank David Meidan for his dedication and professionalism, and I commend Lior Lotan for volunteering to take up the post,” Netanyahu was quoted by the statement as saying.
Israeli Haaretz daily said that one of Lotan's main jobs will be conducting indirect negotiations with Hamas for the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed during Israel's recent onslaught on the Gaza Strip, identified as Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.
According to the paper, Lotan served before as head of the army’s department for captive and missing soldiers and was involved in negotiations with Hezbollah for the return of businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum and the bodies of three soldiers.
Palestinian negotiator Qais Abdel-Karim told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that no negotiations will be held with Israel on disarming the resistance or swapping bodies during a new round of indirect talks in Cairo this month.
On July 7, Israel launched a seven-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of halting rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.
Over the course of the 51-day onslaught, more than 2,150 Palestinians were killed – mostly civilians – and nearly 11,000 injured, while thousands of homes across the territory were partially or totally destroyed.
Over the same period, at least 73 Israelis – 68 soldiers and five civilians – were killed by Palestinian fighters or rocket fire.
The offensive finally ended on August 26 with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire deal that was celebrated by resistance faction Hamas as a strategic victory over Israel.Last Mod: 08 Ekim 2014, 12:55