Netanyahu: No full Palestinian state, no ‘surrender’ in exchange for Gaza hostages

The PM rejects the White House’s vision of a two-state solution, and reports about a grand deal that would end the war. He does not rule out establishing a demilitarized Palestinian State.

Israel’s leaders presented an alternative vision to the White House’s on Sunday, as US President Joe Biden called for the end of the war with Hamas and a path toward a two state solution.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, reiterated in a video his commitment to not allowing a fully-fledged and militarized Palestinian State to be created.

He said that he would not compromise on the full Israeli security control of all territory west the Jordan River. This was in line with recent remarks.

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“As long I am Prime Minister, I will continue firmly to stand by this,” He pledged. He boasted that he has resisted international and domestic pressure for years to move towards a two state solution.

Netanyahu made similar remarks over the last week, but he did not appear to reject categorically all forms of Palestinian nationhood.

After a report Wednesday claiming that the Biden administration was looking past the prime minister to promote a two state solution, and after US Secretary Antony Blinken stated Israel could not achieve “genuine” security without a path to a Palestinian State — Netanyahu said Israel had to maintain “security” control of all territory to the west of the Jordan River as part of any future agreement.

Biden said that after he spoke to Netanyahu on Friday he hoped a two state solution could still be achieved, even if Netanyahu is in office, if the demilitarized. CNN reported the following day that Netanyahu had told Biden he wasn’t ruling out a Palestinian State. The Times of Israel has been confirmed by a US official that the CNN report is accurate.

The Prime Minister pushed back against that, too. He tweeted on Saturday night: “I won’t compromise on full Israeli control of all territory west the Jordan River – and this is contrary to a Palestinian State.”

Netanyahu’s video Sunday statement could be interpreted as leaving a slight door open for a Palestinian state demilitarized.

He rejected the idea of a deal that would leave Hamas at power. Israel, he said, will have achieved “total defeat” and “there will no longer be any entity in Gaza who finances, educates or sends terror.”

Netanyahu demanded Gaza’s demilitarization under Israel’s complete security control.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Sunday that the US and Egypt are pressuring Israel and Hamas into accepting a comprehensive plan to end the conflict, free hostages in Gaza and lead to a full normalization of Israel’s relations with its neighbors.

In his video, Netanyahu stated that Israel rejects Hamas’s demand for “surrender” in exchange for the release of the remaining 136 Gaza hostages.

Netanyahu said, “We have already brought 110 hostages home, and are determined to bring them all back.” “I work on this 24/7. “But let’s be clear: I reject the Hamas monsters’ terms of surrender outright.”

Prime Minister said that Hamas demanded, in exchange for the release of hostages: “the end of the conflict, the withdrawal of our forces from Gaza; the releasing of all murderers and rapists within the Nukhba (forces) and leaving Hamas unchanged.”

Netanyahu said that “if we accept this, then our soldiers’ sacrifices will be in vain.” We cannot ensure the safety of our citizens if we accept this. We can’t bring the evacuees safely home, and next October 7 is just a matter time. “I am not able or willing to accept such a devastating blow to Israeli security and I therefore cannot agree.”

When they spoke at the weekend, Biden was informed of Israel’s position on this issue by Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The Biden administration, under pressure from US progressives and concerned about escalation, has called for the war to be ended “as soon as possible” since over a week.

Israel claimed earlier this month that it had begun a less intense phase of its war against Hamas. However, that seems to only be the case for the northern half.

On Sunday, Defense Minister Yoav Galant announced that the IDF would expand its ground assault in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis.

Gallant, after a flight with the 100th Squadron of the Israeli Air Force over the Strip, said: “We are conducting an intensive operation and it will expand.”

He added that “the plumes of smoke will continue to cover Gaza Strip’s skies until we reach our goals. Chief among these are the defeat of Hamas as well as the return of hostages back to their homes.”

Hamas terrorists launched an invasion of southern Israeli communities. They massacred 1,200 people – mostly civilians – and kidnapped 253. Israel launched a massive operation to vanquish Hamas and release the hostages.

After 105 civilians, including one who was alive when rescued from Hamas’s captivity in late November and another who was alive after being rescued by Hamas during the week-long truce, were released in Gaza on October 7, it is believed 132 hostages are still in Gaza. Since 2014 or 2015, four more hostages may have been held by Hamas in the Strip.