Israel is exerting military and diplomatic pressure on Hamas to release all of the hostages it seized in its Oct. 7 attacks, but as for now, no deal has been reached, Israeli government spokesperson Tal Heinrich said on Newsmax Sunday.
"The less we talk about the nature of such talks behind the scenes, the more chances we will see these talks yielding something," Heinrich told Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "If Hamas does eventually release the hostages, then it won't be because they somehow turned into a human rights group overnight. It will only be due to mounting pressure on them."
Further, she said, Israel wants to "see the release of all hostages immediately and unconditionally."
"These are 240 families that have been going through a torture of mind and soul for 43 days now, and it's unfathomable," said Heinrich. "It's unbearable. It is our moral duty to dismantle Hamas and also to bring about the release of these hostages. We want to see our sons and daughters back home."
Saturday, The Washington Post reported that Israel and Hamas had reached a tentative agreement, brokered by the United States, to free women and children being held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in the war.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. officials said no agreement has been reached yet. A White House spokesperson said efforts are continuing to reach a deal.
"These are not things that we say; these are things that Hamas says," Heinrich said about the reports of a five-day cease-fire. "I suggest not to believe any kind of reporting around these conditions for such a deal.
"We don't expand on it for a very good reason. We want to see, you know, talks behind the scenes yielding something … just remember, we're dealing with a brutal, gruesome even irrational enemy [that is] so committed to the idea of destroying the Jewish state. There are no guarantees here."
Meanwhile, Israel has said that it will cease action to facilitate the exit of war hostages, Heinrich told Newsmax.
"If you remember, we've done so in the past when Hamas released two female hostages," she said. "We wanted to facilitate their safe exit from the Gaza strip so we had a cessation of activity."
Still not much is known about the condition of the hostages "and for that reason, we have demanded that the Red Cross get access to them to pay them a visit, and so far they haven't done so, which is unfortunate," Heinrich said.
Meanwhile, Israel rejected an earlier proposal by Hamas, which said it would release all of the approximately 240 hostages it took in its October attacks, but only if Israel would release some 6,000 Palestinian prisoners it is holding.
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Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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