Netanyahu rules out mass release of terrorists, end of Gaza war in exchange for hostage release

‘We will not withdraw the IDF from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists,’ says Netanyahu.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Tuesday that his government will not agree to a mass release of jailed terrorists as part of a deal to secure the return of Israeli captives in Gaza.

Speaking at the Bnei David yeshiva in the Israeli town of Eli in Samaria Tuesday, Netanyahu ruled out agreeing to end the current war in Gaza or releasing large numbers of jailed terrorists as part of a hostage deal with Hamas.

“This is not ‘another round’,” Netanyahu told students and faculty, “neither is it an exchange of blows, nor is it an operation – it is total victory. Nothing less.”

“I am committed to it. Our fighters are committed to it and the overwhelming majority of the people is committed to it. We will not compromise on anything less than total victory.”

Netanyahu’s address comes two days after Israeli, Qatari, Egyptian, and US intelligence chiefs met in Paris Sunday to discuss a possible hostage release deal.

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While Israel reportedly accepted the framework reached in Paris, Hamas rejected it Monday, demanding such a deal include both the mass release of terrorists held in Israeli jails as well as a conclusion to the current war and the withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza Strip.

“I hear talk about all kinds of deals,” Netanyahu continued. “I would like to make it clear: We will not conclude this war without achieving all of its goals.”

“This means eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to Israel.”

“We will not withdraw the IDF from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists. None of this will happen. What will happen? Total victory!”

On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (Likud) said that roughly half of Hamas’ 30,000 terrorists in Gaza have been either killed or wounded in the war.

“We have already killed a quarter of the Hamas terrorists, at least, and the same number are wounded,” he told IDF Artillery Corps reservists serving near Gaza.

Nevertheless, Gallant added that it would take Israel months to complete the destruction of Hamas forces in Gaza.

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“Terrorists remain, and we are fighting against pockets of resistance … it will take months, not one day.”