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Tags: netanyahu | israel | gaza | hamas

Netanyahu: Israel 'United' Behind Me, Won't Give In to 'Crazy' Demands

By    |   Sunday, 25 February 2024 12:49 PM EST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Sunday that his country is "united" when it comes to the fight against Hamas and that he will not be giving in to the "crazy demands" being made by the country's enemy in the ongoing hostage negotiations. 

"We want to liberate the remaining hostages," Netanyahu told CBS' "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan. "We've already brought half of them back, and I appreciate the effort, the combined effort of Israel and the United States, to bring back the remaining hostages."

But still, he said he can't say if the deal will happen, but "if Hamas goes down from its delusional claims and can bring them down to earth, then we'll have the progress that we all want."

President Joe Biden has said the hostage deal underway could bring at least six weeks of calm in Israel and Gaza. Reportedly, it would allow for the release of 30 to 40 hostages in exchange for a few hundred Palestinian prisoners, said Brennan, but Netanyahu told her it makes no sense to discuss the deal publicly. 

"Hamas started out with just crazy demands," said Netanyahu. "It's too soon to say if they've abandoned them, but if they do abandon them and get into what you call the ballpark, they're not even in the city. They're in another planet. But if they come down to a reasonable situation, then yes, we'll have a hostage deal. I hope so."

There were massive protests throughout Israel this weekend, but Netanyahu insisted that the people are "united as never before."

"Last week, they voted 99 to 9 in the Knesset for my proposal that says that we have to do two things: We have to win the war, have total victory, but also not have an international dictate of a Palestinian state on it shoved down our throats that would endanger Israel," he said. "People are overwhelmingly united on this. When was the last time we had 99 votes in the Knesset … I'll tell you, 30 years ago."

And, Netanyahu insisted that "we can't compromise with total victory, because I'll tell you, we can't win the peace if we don't win the war, and we will win this war."

Meanwhile, the prime minister said that the return of living hostages is necessary for him to declare victory in the war. 

"I've set three war goals," he said. "The first is to release the hostages. The second is to destroy Hamas. And the third is to ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel in the future. And obviously, the three are intertwined."

Meanwhile, Netanyahu said victory is "within reach" but won't happen until Hamas is eliminated, and that means for Israel to start its Rafah operation.

Once that starts, "the intense phase of the fighting is weeks away from completion, not months," he said. "We've already destroyed 18 of the 24 Hamas terrorist battalions and four of them are concentrated in Rafah. We can't leave the last Hamas stronghold without taking care of it."

Netanyahu added he's ordered the army to submit a plan to evacuate Palestinian civilians and to destroy the remaining Hamas battalions. 

"If we have a deal, it'll be delayed somewhat, but it'll happen," he said. "If we don't have a deal, we'll do it anyway. It has to be done."

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Sunday that his country is "united" when it comes to the fight against Hamas and that he will not be giving in to the "crazy demands" being made by the country's enemy in the ongoing hostage negotiations.
netanyahu, israel, gaza, hamas
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2024-49-25
Sunday, 25 February 2024 12:49 PM
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