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Israel Says No Permanent Cease-Fire Unless Hamas Destroyed

Israel Says No Permanent Cease-Fire Unless Hamas Destroyed
Israelis protest for hostage release and against the government during a demonstration in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday, June 1, 2024. Internal strife is also growing in Israel. The opposition National Unity party, headed by war-cabinet member Benny Gantz, has submitted a bill for the dissolution of parliament in a bid to force early elections and oust Netanyahu. Photographer: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that there would be no permanent cease-fire in the war against Hamas in Gaza until the country’s conditions are met, which include the destruction of the militant group. 

Israel is willing to pause hostilities for the purpose of returning hostages but what happens next will be subject to further talks, Netanyahu said in a meeting with parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, according to his office. A proposal presented by President Joe Biden on Friday for a permanent cease-fire was only part of the package and there were details he didn’t make public, Netanyahu said, without being more specific.

Israel is working on “countless ways” to bring back hostages held by Hamas since the start of the near eight-month war, the prime minister said in a separate statement. Ensuring their safe passage back from Gaza would be possible while also eliminating the Iran-backed group, he said.

His comments raise further questions about the three-phase peace plan laid out by Biden, which he said had been put forward by Israel. That proposal detailed a six-week truce involving an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners, followed by focus on an Israeli withdrawal of troops and permanent cease-fire.

Netanyahu was quick to push back against the idea he’s on board with that plan over the weekend, saying the destruction of Hamas’s governing and military capabilities remains a non-negotiable target, but one not specifically mentioned in the outlines of the plan released by the White House.

The Israeli prime minister is under pressure from right-wing allies who have threatened to leave his ruling coalition and bring down the government if he agrees to end the war without dismantling Hamas. At the same time, more than 100,000 people demonstrated in Israel over the weekend, calling for an end to the war.

While the White House has tried to highlight that Hamas is now unable to repeat an attack similar to Oct. 7 —  when militants killed some 1,200 Israelis and took 250 hostages — Netanyahu’s government insists Hamas must be deprived of any aggressive capacity. More than 35,000 Palestinians have died in Israel’s subsequent campaign, according to health authorities in Hamas-run in Gaza.

Read More: Israel Pushes Back Against Gaza Cease-Fire Outlined by Biden

The differences between Biden and Netanyahu on how to reach a cease-fire will be dissected in the coming days as the Israeli leader prepares to address the US Congress. Although June 13 had been originally proposed for his appearance, according to a person familiar with the situation, that date conflicts with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot and no final timing has been announced.

US officials on Monday, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, called on Hamas to accept the proposal, as did the Group of Seven.

Sullivan, speaking at an event in Washington, said Israel had shown “a willingness to step forward and do a deal,” and Hamas must now “come to the table.” The group, designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union, has said it’s ready “to deal positively and constructively with any proposal” based on an indefinite stop to the conflict.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Rìhard Muhirhi says:

    I fully agree with President Biden’s proposal, in my opinion, the Palestinian people have paid a heavy price since the beginning of this saga.
    Premier minister Benjamin should back down and avoid further blood shade.
    The Israelite of the past used to let God to fight on their behalf but now the current Israelites have taken God’s position.

    • Bee Man says:

      Better still, why don’t Hamas just surrender. End of hostilities, no more civilians killed. Simple!

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      I’m not sure of any biblical references to the Jews sitting back in battle and having G-d go to battle for them. I’m pretty sure every biblical war had G-d’s instructions (and endorsements) for an Israeli army about how to conduct the war – which it then went on to comprehensively win. There is suffering in being defeated, which is difficult to be objective about, or experience (like Hamas and their friends are currently feeling) but evil has no place and must be eradicated. Not to mention that sentiments (not unlike yours), about loving dead Jews, but not liking Jews to defend themselves, is as old as time.

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