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Netanyahu ‘rejected’ proposals to resume prisoner swap talks

May 20, 2024 at 12:33 pm

Relatives of hostages gather to stage a protest against the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and demanding an end to Israeli attacks on Gaza and immediate return of their hostage relatives to their homes, in front of the Defense Ministry building in Tel Aviv, Israel on April 25, 2024. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected proposals by Israeli negotiators on Saturday for the renewal of indirect talks with Hamas for a hostage release deal, the Times of Israel has reported, citing multiple reports by major Israeli networks yesterday. The proposals were apparently presented to Netanyahu by Mossad spy chief David Barnea, Shin Bet security chief Ronen Bar and General Nitzan Alon, who is in charge of the “hostages file” for the army.

According to the report, the proposals included an “Israeli concession,” and were presented during the war cabinet meeting on Saturday evening. However, said Kan, Netanyahu responded by saying: “All these proposals will lead to an end to the war. We tried and made significant overtures. Hamas rejected everything.”

Channel 12 quoted war cabinet minister Benny Gantz as retorting: “It is apparent you are unhappy with [the negotiators’] work. If that is so, replace them and bring someone you trust and believe in.” To this Netanyahu responded that he “will not agree to any proposal that ends the war.”

During the same meeting, minister Gadi Eisenkot was quoted as saying: “No one here wants to stop the war, but your position does not allow us to bring back the hostages. You’re not leaving the team with any possible path toward reaching a deal.”

A minister in the war cabinet told Kan, “After yesterday’s meeting it has become clearer that Netanyahu doesn’t want a deal” while others present said, “We saw the despair in the eyes of Nitzan Alon and his senior aide after the meeting. They seem to have come to a final realisation that there will be no deal.”

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