Tel Aviv, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected Hamas’ proposals for a ceasefire and hostage deal in Gaza, deeming them “delusional” and delivering a blow to diplomatic efforts to halt the ongoing conflict.
During a briefing on Wednesday, Netanyahu stated, “We haven’t committed to any of the delusional demands of Hamas, the numbers of terrorists with blood on their hands [to release]. There is not a commitment – there has to be a negotiation, it’s a process, and at the moment, from what I see from Hamas, it’s not happening.”
Hamas had put forward a response to a proposal for a deal, calling for a phased Israeli withdrawal from Gaza during a four-and-a-half-month truce and a plan to permanently end the war. However, Netanyahu emphasized that Israel’s goal is “complete victory” and the country will “not do less than that.”
While Netanyahu’s response may be perceived as a setback for efforts led by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to broker a ceasefire, he did not rule out the possibility of further negotiations. Hamas, on the other hand, announced that it would send a delegation to Cairo to pursue its proposals for the hostage and ceasefire deal.
The Israeli leader’s firm stance against halting the military campaign is in stark contrast to the appeals from various civil society and human rights organizations in Israel, urging for an immediate ceasefire and the release of hostages in Gaza to address the humanitarian crisis in the region.
Blinken, who is actively involved in the negotiations, expressed optimism about the potential for an agreement to be reached, despite noting that the Hamas counterproposal contained “some clear nonstarters.”
As the conflict in Gaza continues to escalate, the international community remains focused on balancing the pursuit of peace with the desire for a definitive resolution to the longstanding hostilities between Israel and Hamas. The intricacies of the negotiations, along with the evolving responses from both sides, underscore the complexity of achieving a lasting ceasefire in the region.