Netanyahu Rejects Hamas Cease-Fire Demands, Vows to Fight until ‘Absolute Victory’

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, rejected Hamas’s cease-fire demand on Wednesday and vowed to continue fighting until “absolute success.”

Netanyahu made these comments after meeting Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken arrived in the area Tuesday night, after having met with leaders from Qatar and Egypt. This was the most significant diplomatic push in the war in order to achieve a ceasefire agreement. Hamas sent Israel a proposal through diplomatic channels for a cease-fire in three stages lasting 135 days, culminating in the end to the war.

According to Associated Press, Netanyahu stated in a national televised press conference on Wednesday night that “surrendering to Hamas’s delusional demand will not only lead to the release of the prisoners, but it will also invite another massacre.”

Blinked said that a deal on a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was still possible at a Tel Aviv press conference late Wednesday. Blinken, who spoke with Israeli leaders about Hamas’ counterproposal, said that, while there were some nonstarters, it created space for an accord to be reached. Blinken told Netanyahu the toll that Hamas’ military operations in Gaza take on innocent civilians is “too great.”

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Blinken previously stated that there is still “a lot of effort” to be done in order to reach a deal between Israel and Hamas.

Hamas cannot be allowed to control Gaza in any form. Netanyahu stated that “we are on our way to an absolutely victory” and added that the war will last for months, not years. There is no alternative solution. He added that Israel was the “only” power capable of ensuring Gazan security on a long-term basis.

According to a Hamas draft document, each phase would last 45 days. In the first phase, all Israeli women, men under 19 years old, the elderly and sick would be released in exchange for the freedom of Palestinian children and women from Israeli prisons. The second phase would see the release of all remaining Israeli men hostages. In the third phase, the remainder of prisoners, soldiers, and hostages will be exchanged. Hamas expects that both sides will have agreed on a ceasefire by the end of the second phase.

Hamas’s proposal was incredibly lopsided. In an addendum to their proposal, Hamas demanded the release of additional 1,500 prisoners. They wanted a third from a Palestinian list of Palestinians given life sentences by Israel. This list includes Palestinians that have terrorized and murdered Israeli citizens.

Netanyahu refused to make concessions to Hamas before the proposal was presented to him.

“We will never withdraw the IDF forces from Gaza and we will never release thousands of terrorists.” All of this won’t happen. What will happen next? What will happen?

I hear all sorts of talk. It is important to note that we will not end this war until all its goals have been achieved. It means ending Hamas and returning our hostages, as well as ensuring that Gaza will never again be a threat to Israel.