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No end to Gaza war in exchange for hostage swap, Israel’s Netanyahu says

May 5, 2024 at 2:13 pm

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base, which houses the Israeli Ministry of Defence, in Tel Aviv on December 24, 2023 [OHAD ZWIGENBERG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected calls to end his deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip in return for a hostage swap deal with Hamas. Netanyahu claimed that ending the Gaza war now would keep Hamas in power in the blockaded enclave, Anadolu news agency reported.

“Hamas remains entrenched in its extreme positions, first among them the demand to remove all our forces from the Gaza Strip, end the war, and leave Hamas in power. Israel cannot accept that,” he said in a video message on X.

The Israeli premier blamed media reports for damaging the Gaza hostage swap negotiations and causing “unnecessary suffering” for families, according to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

He insisted that Tel Aviv is ready to pause fighting in Gaza in order to secure the release of hostages held by the Palestinian group.

His statements came as a Hamas delegation was holding talks in Egypt for a Gaza cease-fire and hostage swap with Israel.

Hamas, which is believed to be holding more than 130 Israeli hostages, demands an end to Israel’s ongoing offensive on Gaza in return for any hostage deal with Tel Aviv.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on Gaza since the 7 October Hamas incursion, which killed around 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

Tel Aviv, in comparison, has killed more than 34,600 Palestinians and wounded 77,700 others amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities in the Palestinian Territory.

More than six months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85 per cent of the enclave’s population into internal displacement besides a crippling blockade on food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Hundreds of Israelis protest to demand hostage swap deal: Reports