Senior Israeli minister decries hostage deal as a ‘defeat for Israel, victory for Hamas’

Current hostage deal proposal would be a ‘death sentence to 90 hostages in Gaza,’ warns Israeli Finance Minister.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

A senior Israeli government minister slammed a hostage deal plan which includes a ceasefire with the Hamas terror organization, warning Monday that if accepted by Israel, the deal could jeopardize the lives of Israeli captives held in the Gaza Strip and serve as a victory for Hamas.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich addressed reporters in the Knesset ahead of a meeting with members of his Religious Zionist Party Monday afternoon, decrying the draft agreement currently under consideration.

“This deal is a defeat and humiliation for Israel and a victory for Sinwar,” Smotrich said, referring to the chief of Hamas forces in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar.

Holding up a picture of a Sinwar defiantly raising up his hands with a victory sign, Smotrich lamented that should Israel agree to the proposed deal, “This is the picture we will see in Gaza if we, God forbid, sign this irresponsible deal.”

Smotrich also warned that while the proposed agreement would secure the release of roughly 30 Israeli captives held in Gaza, “It would constitute a death sentence for 90 hostages who are not part of the deal and it will lead to thousands of murdered people who will die in the next massacre by Sinwar and Hamas.”

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The minister called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reject the current proposal for an agreement, calling it a “failure,” rather than the “total victory” proposed by the premier.

“Mr. Prime Minister, this is not total victory. This is complete failure. We will not be a part of this surrender agreement with Hamas.”

Earlier on Monday, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid offered to guarantee Netanyahu enough votes in the Knesset to back passage of the deal and ensure the government’s survival should Netanyahu’s right-wing allies – including Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir – attempt to torpedo the deal and topple the coalition.

On Sunday, Netanyahu laid out Israel’s four conditions for a deal with Hamas.

“Any deal will allow Israel to resume fighting until all of objectives of the war have been achieved,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“There will be no smuggling of weapons to Hamas from Egypt to the Gaza border. There will be no return of thousands of armed terrorists to the northern Gaza Strip. Israel will maximize the number of living hostages who will be released from Hamas captivity.”