Israel rejects demands from the Palestinian Hamas movement for a cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the return of hostages, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. This was reported by The Times of Israel on January 21.
“We have brought home 110 hostages so far, and we are determined to bring them all back,” Netanyahu said.
He added that he was working around the clock to free the hostages, but categorically rejected Hamas’s conditions. Thus, the Prime Minister noted that in exchange for the release of the hostages, Hamas demands the end of the war and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, the release of the criminals of the elite Hamas Nukhba unit and the preservation of the integrity of Hamas.
“If we agree to this, our soldiers have fallen in vain. If we agree to this, we will not be able to guarantee the safety of our citizens. We cannot get evacuees home safely and it will only be a matter of time before October 7 next year. “I cannot agree to such a mortal blow to Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister added that he outlined Israel’s position on the issue to US President Joe Biden when they spoke over the weekend.
Earlier this day it was reported that the Israel Defense Forces, in more than 100 days of operation in the Gaza Strip, destroyed no more than 30% of the militants of the radical Palestinian movement Hamas. As the authors of the material noted, this number does not yet correspond to Israel’s goal of destroying the group and demonstrates its resilience after several months of war, which led to the destruction of some parts of the Gaza Strip.
On January 18, Netanyahu said that Israel intends to continue the operation in the Gaza Strip until Hamas is completely defeated, and the fighting will continue for many months. Israeli President Isaac Herzog then indicated that the radical Palestinian movement Hamas must be eradicated in order to “ensure a better future for the Palestinians.”
The situation in the Middle East escalated on the morning of October 7, when Hamas subjected Israel to massive rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, and also invaded border areas in the south of the country and took hostages. That same day, Israel began retaliating against targets in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians are seeking to return the borders between the two countries to the lines that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestine wants to create its own state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and make East Jerusalem its capital. Israel refuses the conditions set.