Israeli withdrawal from Gaza would be a ‘great victory for Hamas’ – Netanyahu

Hamas conditions for hostage deal a non-starter, says Netanyahu, pledging not to agree to end of war in exchange for partial release.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed not to end the war with Hamas in exchange for a hostage deal with the terror group, saying that the demands issued by Hamas could never be accepted by Israel.

In a video statement released Sunday, on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the failure of the two sides to reach and agreement for a ceasefire and release of dozens of Israeli captives held in the Gaza Strip since October 7th.

“It is Hamas that is holding up the release of our hostages,” the prime minister said. “We are working in every possible way to free the hostages; this is our top priority.”

“Israel has been, and still is, ready for a pause in the fighting in order to free our hostages. This is what we did when we freed 124 hostages, and resumed fighting – and this is what we are ready to do today as well.”

Netanyahu rejected Hamas’ two key conditions for a hostage release, including the terror group’s demand that the ceasefire become permanent – ending the current war – and that Israel withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip.

“Throughout the negotiations, Israel has shown a willingness for significant movement, which has been described by U.S. Secretary of State Blinken and others as ‘very generous.'”

“But while Israel has shown this willingness, Hamas has still held to its extreme positions, first and foremost the withdrawal of our forces from the Strip, the conclusion of the war and leaving Hamas intact.”

Ending the war without the dismantling of Hamas would constitute a “great victory for Hamas,” Netanyahu continued.

“The State of Israel is not willing to accept this. We are not willing to accept a situation in which Hamas’s battalions leave their tunnels, reestablish control over the Strip, rebuild their military industries and go back to threatening the citizens of Israel in the communities of the Western Negev, the cities of the south and throughout the country.”

“In such a case, the next October 7 would only be a matter of time. Hamas would be able to realize its promise to carry out repeated massacres, rapes and abductions.”

Read  Netanyahu accuses Biden of imposing 'dramatic decrease' in weapons transfers to Israel

“Capitulating to Hamas’s demands would be a terrible defeat for the State of Israel. It would be a great victory for Hamas, Iran and the entire axis of evil.”