×
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - In Google Play
VIEW
×
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - On the App Store
VIEW
Tags: israel hamas war news 02 07 2024

Netanyahu Rejects Hamas Cease-Fire Demands, Vows 'Absolute Victory'

Wednesday, 07 February 2024 01:28 PM EST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday rejected Hamas' terms for a cease-fire and hostage-release agreement, calling them “delusional,” a position that complicates efforts to strike a deal between the sides.

Netanyahu vowed to press ahead with Israel's war against Hamas, now in its fifth month, until achieving “absolute victory.”

Netanyahu made the comments shortly after meeting the visiting U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who has been traveling the region in hopes of securing a cease-fire agreement.

“Surrendering to Hamas’ delusional demands that we heard now not only won’t lead to freeing the captives, it will just invite another massacre,” Netanyahu said in a nationally televised evening news conference.

“We are on the way to an absolute victory,” Netanyahu said, adding that the operation would last months, not years. "There is no other solution."

He ruled out any arrangement that leaves Hamas in full or partial control of Gaza. He also said that Israel is the “only power” capable of guaranteeing security in the long term.

Earlier, Blinken said that “a lot of work” remains to bridge the gap between Israel and Hamas on terms for any deal. He was expected to hold his own news conference later Wednesday.

Hamas laid out a detailed, three-phase plan to unfold over 4 1/2 months, responding to a proposal drawn up by the United States, Israel, Qatar and Egypt. The plan stipulates that all hostages would be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, including senior militants, and an end to the war.

Israel has made destroying Hamas’ governing and military abilities one of its wartime objectives, and Hamas' proposal would effectively leave it in power in Gaza and allow it to rebuild its military capabilities.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Hamas' demands are “a little over the top” but that negotiations will continue.

The deadliest round of fighting in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has killed over 27,000 Palestinians, leveled entire neighborhoods, driven the vast majority of Gaza's population from their homes and pushed a quarter of the population to starvation.

Iran-backed militant groups across the region have conducted attacks, mostly on U.S. and Israeli targets, in solidarity with the Palestinians, drawing reprisals as the risk of a wider conflict grows.

Israel remains deeply shaken by the Oct. 7 attack in which Hamas militants burst through the country's vaunted defenses and rampaged across southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting some 250, around half of whom remain in captivity in Gaza.

Blinken, who is on his fifth visit to the region since the war broke out, is trying to advance the cease-fire talks while pushing for a larger postwar settlement in which Saudi Arabia would normalize relations with Israel in return for a “clear, credible, time-bound path to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Netanyahu is opposed to Palestinian statehood, and his hawkish governing coalition could collapse if he is seen as making too many concessions.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, but we are very much focused on doing that work,” Blinken told Israel's ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog.

There is little talk of grand diplomatic bargains in Gaza, where Palestinians yearn for an end to fighting that has upended every aspect of their lives.

“We pray to God that it stops,” said Ghazi Abu Issa, who fled his home and sought shelter in the central town of Deir al-Balah. “There is no water, electricity, food or bathrooms." Those living in tents have been drenched by winter rains and flooding. “We have been humiliated,” he said.

Israel has ordered Palestinians to evacuate areas that make up two-thirds of the tiny coastal territory. Most of the displaced are packed into the southern town of Rafah near the border with Egypt, where many are living in squalid tent camps and overflowing U.N.-run shelters.

Hamas has continued to put up stiff resistance across the territory, and its police force has returned to the streets in places where Israeli troops have pulled back. Hamas is still holding over 130 hostages, but around 30 of them are believed to be dead, with the vast majority killed on Oct. 7.

Hamas' response to the cease-fire proposal was published in Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is close to the powerful Hezbollah militant group.

A Hamas official and two Egyptian officials confirmed its authenticity. A fourth official familiar with the talks later clarified the sequencing of the releases. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media on the negotiations.

In the first 45-day phase, Hamas would release all remaining women and children, as well as older and sick men, in exchange for an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Israel would also withdraw from populated areas, cease aerial operations, allow far more aid to enter and permit Palestinians to return to their homes, including in devastated northern Gaza.

The second phase, to be negotiated during the first, would include the release of all remaining hostages, mostly soldiers, in exchange for all Palestinian detainees over the age of 50, including senior militants. Israel would release an additional 1,500 prisoners, 500 of whom would be specified by Hamas, and complete its withdrawal from Gaza.

In the third phase, the sides would exchange the remains of hostages and prisoners.

Netanyahu has said he will not secure a deal at any cost, signaling he would not agree to the release of senior militants.

Israelis are intensely focused on the plight of the hostages, with family members and the wider public demanding a deal with Hamas, fearful that time is running out. Israeli forces have only rescued one hostage, while Hamas says several were killed in Israeli airstrikes and failed rescue missions.

More than 100 hostages, mostly women and children, were freed during a weeklong cease-fire in November in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Thousands of Israelis have taken part in weekly protests calling for the release of the hostages and demanding new elections. But Netanyahu is beholden to far-right coalition allies who have threatened to bring down the government if he concedes too much in the negotiations.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


GlobalTalk
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday rejected Hamas' terms for a cease-fire and hostage-release agreement, calling them "delusional," a position that complicates efforts to strike a deal between the sides.
israel hamas war news 02 07 2024
1025
2024-28-07
Wednesday, 07 February 2024 01:28 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
 
 
TOP

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved