Netanyahu: Hostage Talks Are Off Until Hamas Drops Demand to End War

Netanyahu: Hostage Talks Are Off Until Hamas Drops Demand to End War

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that hostage talks are going nowhere, despite intense pressure from the Biden administration, because Hamas refuses to drop a demand that Israel withdraw from Gaza and agree to end the war.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement (translated via Prime Minister’s Office):

Israel did not receive in Cairo any new proposal of Hamas on the release of our hostages.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that Israel will not give in to Hamas’s delusional demands.

A change in Hamas’s positions will allow the negotiations to advance.

Israeli negotiators returned Tuesday from meetings in Cairo with Egyptian and Qatari mediators, as well as senior U.S. officials.

The Biden administration is proposing a six-week pause in fighting, during which Hamas would release Israeli hostages in stages, and Israel would release at least three Palestinian terror convicts in exchange for each of the roughly 130  Israeli hostages.

Hamas has responded by insisting that Israel withdraw from Gaza and end the war; that it release thousands of Palestinian terrorists, including the perpetrators of the October 7 terror attack; and that it facilitate the rebuilding of Gaza at its expense.

Netanyahu has responded that these conditions are non-starters. Hamas is losing badly, and has been reduced to four battalions, which are located in the town of Rafah on the Egyptian border, from which two Israeli hostages were rescued early Monday.

Within Israel, the Netanyahu government is under increasing pressure from families of the hostages to reach a deal. However, Hamas has already broken previous agreements, including a recent agreement to transfer medicine to the hostages in Gaza.

Update: Netanyahu issued a further statement (translated via Government Press Office):

This week we freed two of our hostages in a brilliant military operation. As of now we have freed 112 of our hostages in a combination of strong military pressure and tough negotiations.

This is also the key to freeing more of our hostages: Strong military pressure and very tough negotiations.

Indeed, I insist that Hamas drop its delusional demands. When they do so, we will be able to move forward.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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