Netanyahu on hostage releases: ‘How do you hold talks with the devil?’

‘In the past week, we saved many worlds. We brought back 110 souls.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

At a press conference in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, the Israeli Prime Minister read the names of released hostages and discussed the ending of the ceasefire.

Netanyahu reflected on the difficulty of the hostage negotiations, “I asked myself: How do you hold discussions with the devil, a person who has no value for human life? But I was convinced that there was a way to rescue people…”

We held tough negotiations, and we applied pressure on the brokers to improve the plan. The efforts bore fruit, and we doubled the number of people released.”

Quoting the Talmudic dictum, “He who saves a single human life has saved the whole world,” Netanyahu continued, “In the past week, we saved many worlds. We brought back 110 souls. We released 86 Israeli civilians, children and women, teenage boys and girls, mothers, and grandmothers, as well as dozens of foreign citizens.”

“These are not just names – these are souls, of boys and girls who we brought home, who we brought back to life. We will support them and take care of them. I embrace them all. Welcome, those who have left hell. Welcome home.”

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Regarding discussions with families of hostages who remain in Gaza, the Prime Minister said, “My wife and I met some of the families of the hostages who remain in Hamas captivity. I promised them: We will do everything in order to bring them home. We will do everything in order to bring everyone home.”

The Prime Minister then discussed meeting with individual freed hostages, including Maya Regev, whose leg was severely injured during the attack at the Nova Music Festival before she was captured and taken to Gaza.

When Netanyahu was asked why the hostage releases ended, he placed the blame squarely at the feet of Hamas.

Hamas violated the agreement, and I said that if it violates the agreement, we will return to war. That is what we did and the pressure will continue to grow.

Concerning international pressure, he said, “There is international pressure, I do not deny that. But what I am doing is creating an international space to deal with this pressure, and speaking with leaders every day. I am presenting the justice of our path.”

Netanyahu sent a message to residents of the North similar to those in the South, “We will bring back security both in the North and the South…. We are committed to bringing security back to the citizens of Israel.”

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When asked about the controversial statements that Netanyahu was given opportunities to approve the elimination of Hamas leaders, such as Yahya Sinwar, and refused, Netanyahu responded that it would not be responsible to reveal all of the information he received from security officials at the time.

“When the circumstances allowed it, we eliminated many leaders, both of Hamas and of other terror organizations, and we will complete the task now.”