Photo Credit: MoD via Twitter
UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz meet to discuss how to extend the current ceasefire with Gaza.

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland met on Wednesday with Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz to discuss the issue of reaching a long-term peace between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

Wennesland said in a tweet that the two “discussed the efforts and steps needed to solidify the current cessation of hostilities in Gaza and Israel.” He added that he had “stressed the UN’s commitment and readiness to continue its engagement with all relevant sides to chart the political way forward.”

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Gantz – who was to fly to the United States Wednesday night for talks with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — presented the UN envoy with Israel’s plan to reach a long-term “quiet” with Hamas that will include the return of four Israeli captives, and asked Wennesland to help Israel implement the plan.

The return of the captives would occur simultaneously with the start of reconstruction in Gaza, according to The Jerusalem Post, while also “strengthening” the Palestinian Authority.

Wennesland said in a separate tweet that he visited Gaza on Tuesday. “It is crucial to maintain calm and address urgent humanitarian needs and reconstruction efforts,” he wrote. “Ultimately the future of Gaza requires political solutions and the political will to implement them.”

Wennesland and Gantz agreed to stay in touch.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.