Nearly 130 Israelis still held hostage by Hamas will never be released, a leader of the militant group said after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the movement's conditions for ending the war on Sunday.
“In exchange for the release of our hostages, Hamas demands an end to the war, the withdrawal of our forces from Gaza, and the release of all murderers and rapists,” Netanyahu said in a video speech.
“Leaving Hamas intact. He added: “I completely reject the conditions for the surrender of Hamas' monsters.”
Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior Hamas official, responded by saying that Bibi's refusal to end the military offensive in the Strip “means that there is no chance for Hamas to return.” [Israeli] “Prisoners” who were kidnapped in the terrorist attack carried out by the group on October 7.
Under an agreement brokered by the United States, Qatar and Egypt in late November, more than 100 of the 240 hostages taken by Hamas during the October 7 attack were released, in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
Netanyahu is facing increasing pressure to secure the release of the 136 hostages who remain in Gaza.
Relatives of the hostages demanded action during a protest outside his residence late Sunday.
“We need the government now to fix the problem it created and return these hostages to their homeland immediately,” John Bolen, Hersh Goldberg Bolen’s father, said, according to Reuters.
The Forum for the Families of Hostages and Missing Persons called on the Prime Minister to “clearly declare that we will not abandon the civilians, soldiers and other people kidnapped in the October disaster.”
“We must move forward with the agreement now. If the prime minister decides to sacrifice the hostages, he must show leadership and honestly share his position with the Israeli public.”
At the same time, Netanyahu took a stronger position than before on the issue of a Palestinian state.
He said: “I will not give up full Israeli security control over all lands west of the Jordan River.”
President Joe Biden said on Friday that he spoke with Netanyahu about possible solutions for establishing an independent Palestinian state and suggested that one path might include forming a non-military government.
Netanyahu later appeared to oppose Biden's statements regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state after the end of the war between Israel and Hamas, as the two leaders do not agree on the Palestinians having a state, which is the solution that Biden called for to achieve long-term peace.
Netanyahu reiterated on Sunday that he would insist on “full Israeli security control over all lands west of Jordan.”
He said he had strongly faced “international and internal pressure” to change this position and would continue to do so.
The Prime Minister said: “It is my insistence that has prevented, over the years, the establishment of a Palestinian state that would have constituted an existential threat to Israel.”
The Ministry of Health in Gaza announced on Sunday that 25,000 Palestinians were killed in the war, about two-thirds of whom were women and children, according to the United Nations.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday described the scale of civilian deaths as “heartbreaking and completely unacceptable.”
“Israeli military operations have spread mass destruction and killed civilians on an unprecedented scale during my tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations,” Guterres said at a global summit in Uganda.
US intelligence officials told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday that Israel has only killed about 20% to 30% of the estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Hamas fighters, and they claim that Israeli military officials exaggerated enemy losses during their war that lasted more than three years. Months.
“Internet practitioner. Social media maven. Certified zombieaholic. Lifelong communicator.”