Netanyahu rejects Hamas’ terms for hostage deal, which include “total surrender”

Written by Emily Rose

Jerusalem (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu On Sunday, he rejected the conditions offered by Hamas to end the war and release the hostages, which include a complete Israeli withdrawal and leaving Hamas in power in Gaza.

As Israeli planes resumed bombing Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters that the Israeli leader’s refusal to end the military attack in Gaza “means that there is no chance for the (Israeli) prisoners to return.”

Netanyahu said in a statement, “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.” “Leaving Hamas intact.”

Netanyahu said: “I completely reject the conditions for the surrender of Hamas’ monsters.”

Under an agreement brokered by the United States, Qatar and Egypt in late November, more than 100 of an estimated 240 hostages captured in Gaza during an attack by Hamas activists on October 7 were released, in exchange for the release of 240 detained Palestinians. in Gaza. Israeli prisons.

Since then, Netanyahu has faced increasing pressure to secure the release of the 136 hostages still in captivity.

The Forum for Families of Hostages and Missing Persons demanded in a statement that Netanyahu declare “clearly that we will not abandon the civilians, soldiers and other kidnapped in the October disaster.”

She added: “We have to move forward with the agreement now.” He added, “If the prime minister decides to sacrifice the hostages, he must show leadership and honestly share his position with the Israeli public.”

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Relatives of the hostages at a protest outside Netanyahu's residence demanded action.

“We need the government now to fix the problem it created and return these hostages to their homeland immediately,” said John Bollen, Hersh Goldberg Bollen's father.

Netanyahu also 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 the lands west of the Jordan River.”

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that he spoke with Netanyahu about possible solutions to establishing an independent Palestinian state, indicating that one way may include forming an unarmed government.

On Saturday, Netanyahu appeared to oppose Biden's statements regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state after the end of the war against Hamas in Gaza, as the two men do not agree on the Palestinians obtaining a state, which is the solution that Biden called for to achieve long-term peace. .

In his statement on Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated that he would insist on “full Israeli security control over all lands west of Jordan.”

Netanyahu said he had firmly faced “international and internal pressure” to change this position and would continue to do so.

He added: “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.”

(Reporting by Emily Rose; Additional reporting by Reuters Television and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Giles Elgood and Richard Chang)

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