Israeli PM rejects key Hamas demands for any ceasefire

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that there will be no military withdrawal from Gaza or the release of thousands of jailed militants, two key demands of Hamas in ongoing indirect ceasefire talks. During an event in the occupied West Bank, he once again vowed that the war would not end without “absolute victory” over Hamas.

I would like to make it clear: We will not conclude this war without achieving all of its goals. This means eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to Israel,” said Netanyahu at the Bnei David institutions in Eli. “We will not withdraw the IDF from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists. None of this will happen. What will happen? Total victory!”

This comes as Netanyahu faces increasing domestic pressure from the families of the hostages as they demand a deal to be struck by the Israeli government for the safe return of their loved ones. Netanyahu recently remarked that such protests organized by families of hostages in Gaza were helping Hamas, according to reports.

According to several reports, Israel agreed during a meeting in Paris on Sunday with the US, Qatar, and Egypt to a framework that would see all Israeli hostages released, starting with women, children, the elderly, and the sick. There would be “phased pauses” in Israel’s war against Hamas while the process played out, The Times of Israel reported.

The framework reportedly does not provide for a permanent ceasefire but also does not rule one out. US officials were seeing signs of progress in negotiations to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas to release the more than 100 remaining hostages being held in Gaza in exchange for an extended pause in fighting. Qatar’s prime minister on Monday said senior US and Mideast mediators had achieved a framework proposal to present to Hamas for freeing hostages and pausing fighting in Gaza.

Hamas politburo leader Ismail Haniyeh said the group had received the ceasefire proposal put forward after the talks in Paris and will study it, adding that he will visit Cairo for discussions on the plan. Haniyeh said Hamas’ priority is to end Israel’s military offensive and ensure a full pullout of Israeli forces from Gaza.

More than 26,000 people have been killed in Israel’s military campaign in Gaza in response to Hamas’ October 7 attacks in Israel, where militants killed 1,200 in Israel and took 253 people as captives. The Palestinian Red Crescent says Israeli forces raided the Al-Amal Hospital in the south Gaza city of Khan Younis, where about 7,000 displaced people were sheltering.

Image courtesy of X@netanyahu

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