In a blow to diplomatic attempts to cessation of Israel-Gaza conflict, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed Hamas’ plans for a ceasefire and hostage deal in Gaza, calling them “delusional,” reported CNN. In a briefing on Wednesday, Netanyahu said, “We haven’t committed to anything. We haven’t committed to any of the delusional demands of Hamas, the numbers of terrorists with blood on their hands.”
“There is not a commitment – there has to be a negotiation, it’s a process, and at the moment, from what I see from Hamas, it’s not happening,” Netanyahu underlined. Netanyahu stated that Israel’s goal is “complete victory” and that the country will “not do less than that.”
“We are on the way to complete victory. The victory is achievable; it’s not a matter of years or decades, it’s a matter of months,” CNN quoted him as saying.
Netanyahu’s answer comes as a blow to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is visiting the area as attempts to end the violence increase. However, the Israeli leader did not rule out the potential of additional talks.
At a news conference in Beirut on Wednesday, Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan said that the organisation will send a team to Cairo to follow up on its recommendations for the hostage and truce arrangements.
Hamdan stated that the delegation will fly to Cairo on Thursday “in the context of our keenness to achieve the best results.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in Tel Aviv, according to a pool of reporters travelling with the secretary, CNN reported.
The meeting, held at 11:50 am local time was closed to the press.
The US State Secretary is in Israel for meetings with key government officials to press for a “humanitarian pause” as international and domestic US pressure to end the conflict in Gaza continues to mount, reported CNN.
The discussions in Tel Aviv gained added significance due to Hamas presenting a response to a proposal aimed at securing the release of remaining hostages held by the group and achieving a sustained cessation of fighting in Gaza.
The complete Hamas response outlines three phases, each lasting 45 days, including the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, a substantial humanitarian effort, and unrestricted movement for people across Gaza, as per information obtained by CNN.
On both his current and last trip to the Middle East, Blinken has stressed that the Israeli government must make “difficult” decisions and move toward a two-state solution if it wants to achieve normalisation with Saudi Arabia and if it wants the support of its Arab neighbours for security and reconstruction in Gaza.
The top US diplomat, who met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Monday, said that Saudi Arabia still has a “strong interest” in normalizing relations with Israel, but the Crown Prince made clear that the war in Gaza must end and there must be “a clear, credible, timebound path to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”