Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel defence minister says now is the time to conclude truce with Hamas

April 9, 2024 at 12:47 pm

Minister of Defence of Israel, Yoav Gallant on 4 May, 2023 [MENELAOS MYRILLAS/SOOC/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, has suggested that now is the right time for Tel Aviv to conclude a truce with Hamas in Gaza in exchange for releasing prisoners of war taken by the group on 7 October.

Addressing army recruits, Gallant said: “There will be difficult decisions. We must be prepared to pay the price to return the hostages before returning to fighting.”

“We are at the right time” to do this, he added.

Indirect negotiations are currently taking place between Israel and Hamas with mediation from Egypt, the United States and Qatar.

READ: Gaza truce talks still deadlocked despite reports of progress, Hamas says

Gallant claimed Israel has put itself “in a strong position” to negotiate after six months of bombarding the Gaza Strip and destroying a large part of Hamas’s arsenal and forces.

He stressed that “the operational conditions created by the Israeli army through the continuous pressure on Hamas and the strong position in which we find ourselves after this campaign, give us flexibility and freedom of movement.”

On Sunday, the Israeli army announced the withdrawal of its forces from the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, although military commanders stressed the move was tactical and did not indicate an end of the war.

Gallant noted on Sunday that Israeli forces had left Khan Yunis “in preparation to continue their future missions, including… in the Rafah area” where nearly 1.5 million Gazans live in crowded shelters and tents.