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Possible ‘New Year’ truce in Gaza Strip not in view — Israeli ambassador

Alexander Ben Zvi noted that "there will be no questions if Hamas decides to lay down its arms"

MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. A possible ‘New Year’ truce between Israel and Hamas radical movement is not expected, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Alexander Ben Zvi told TASS on Saturday.

"No, I don’t think so, because we have two objectives, which I always repeat. They are about the destruction of Hamas terrorist structures and the release of all our hostages," he said.

"These are the two objectives, which we must accomplish," Zvi continued. "Besides, neither we nor Hamas celebrate Christmas at this time of the year. We celebrate New Year in September. On the whole, it is not the reason for suspending military operations."

The Israeli diplomat noted that "that there would be no questions asked if Hamas decides to lay down weapons."

"However, I don’t see such perspective at the moment," Zvi said adding that some parties resort to attempts "leading to the ceasefire instead of the truce."

"The word truce does not fit here. The talks are about the ceasefire or temporary suspension of combat operations, which I do not expect at this stage," the ambassador added.

Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 after militants from the Gaza Strip-based radical Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise incursion into Israeli territory, killing many Israeli kibbutz residents living near the Gaza border and abducting more than 200 Israelis, including women, children and the elderly.

Hamas described its attack as a response to the Israeli authorities’ aggressive actions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and launched bombardments of the enclave and some areas in Lebanon and Syria, as well as a ground operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Clashes are also reported in the West Bank.