Israel not returning to hostage deal talks, says Netanyahu

Israeli prime minister orders negotiators not to return to Cairo talks, calling Hamas position ‘delusional.’

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

Israeli negotiators will not be returning to Cairo for talks on a possible hostage deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed, citing what he termed “delusional” demands by the Hamas terror organization.

On Tuesday, an Israeli delegation departed Cairo, following meetings with Egyptian and Qatari brokers, with Hamas negotiators arriving shortly thereafter for consultations.

A day later, however, Netanyahu announced that the Israeli negotiating team will not be returning to the Cairo talks until Hamas softens its position, saying the terror group’s current demands are a non-starter.

“Israel did not receive in Cairo any new proposal of Hamas on the release of our hostages,” Netanyahu’s office said Wednesday.

“A change in Hamas’s positions will allow the negotiations to advance.”

In a later statement, Netanyahu lauded IDF forces involved in the recent rescue of two Israeli captives held in Gaza.

“This week we freed two of our hostages in a brilliant military operation. As of now we have freed 112 of our hostages in a combination of strong military pressure and tough negotiations.”

“This is also the key to freeing more of our hostages: Strong military pressure and very tough negotiations.”

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“Indeed, I insist that Hamas drop its delusional demands. When they do so, we will be able to move forward.”

Following a gun battle with Gaza terrorists early Monday morning, Norberto Louis Har, 70, and Fernando Simon Marman, 61, were rescued from captivity in Gaza and returned to Israel.

Both men are Argentinian-born residents of Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, and had been held in an apartment building in the city of Rafah, a Hamas stronghold near the Egyptian border.

Liat Bell Sommer, head of an umbrella group representing families of Israeli hostages, lambasted Netanyahu’s order, calling it a “death sentence” for the captives still in Gaza.

“This is a scandalous decision that amounts to a death sentence and deliberate sacrifice of the 134 hostages languishing in Hamas’ tunnels.”