Netanyahu REJECTS Hamas’ offer to release ALL hostages for a ceasefire – further proof that the Israeli leader doesn’t care about his own people
02/08/2024 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again rejected Hamas' terms for a ceasefire in Gaza, which includes the return of all hostages held in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas' proposal – backed by the United States – called for the Israeli hostages the militant group still held to be released in three phases, with each phase lasting 45 days, in exchange for a ceasefire.

In the first phase, Hamas demanded the release of all Palestinian women and children under the age of 19 held in Israeli jails – many of whom are being held without charges in illegal involuntary detention – and all prisoners 50 and older. In return, Hamas would release one group of civilian Israeli hostages currently held in Gaza.

During this first stage, Israeli forces would redeploy outside of populated areas of Gaza, and Israel would agree to allow some reconstruction to begin.

In the second phase, Hamas is demanding the release of an additional 1,500 Palestinian prisoners, including 500 serving long-term sentences, in exchange for Israeli soldiers held in Gaza. During this phase, Israel would have to agree to the launching of a comprehensive reconstruction program for Gaza.

In the last stage, Hamas and Israel would exchange the bodies of the dead. During these three phases, Hamas hopes that it could continue negotiations with Israel for a long-term truce. But Netanyahu has called ending the war a "red line" he is unwilling to cross, likely because of his unpopularity and the likelihood of his ouster following a ceasefire.

Netanyahu calls Hamas' demands "delusional"

Netanyahu's dismissal of the proposal is a massive diplomatic setback for the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was pushing for Netanyahu's extremist government to agree to the ceasefire before the IDF began a possible offensive on the southern Gazan city of Rafah, which lies near the border with Egypt and where over a million displaced Palestinians have sought refuge. (Related: Jewish Sen. Bernie Sanders to block U.S. taxpayer funding for Israeli weapons.)

"Giving in to Hamas's bizarre demands, that we heard right now, not only won't bring the release of hostages. It will just invite another massacre," claimed Netanyahu in a news conference, where he further claimed that Israel can achieve its goal of eliminating Hamas and ending all security threats coming from Gaza within a matter of months.

Netanyahu called Hamas' proposal "delusional" and pledged anew to totally destroy the militant group, claiming there is no alternative for Israel but to bring about the elimination of Hamas. "Continued military presence [in Gaza] is a necessary condition for the release of the hostages," he said.

Despite Netanyahu's claims, Gershon Baskin, an Israeli hostage negotiator who helped broker a prisoner exchange with Hamas back in 2011, noted that there is actually "some room to maneuver" with regards to Hamas' proposal, "although it will be very difficult."

Negotiations are set to continue. Israeli officials have asked the Egyptian government, which holds strong influence over Hamas' top commanders, to pressure the militant group to come up with a different response to the U.S.-backed proposal. Blinken himself has expressed optimism that negotiations could come up with a fruitful agreement.

"There are clearly nonstarters in what [Hamas has] put forward," said Blinken at a press conference in Tel Aviv. "But we also see space in what came back to pursue negotiations, to see if we can get to an agreement. That's what we intend to do."

"And these things are always negotiations," he added. "It's not flipping a light switch. It's not yes or no. There's invariably back and forth."

Meanwhile, Hamas senior spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri described Netanyahu's remarks and dismissal of the proposal "political bravado" and further proof that Israel's extremist leaders intend to pursue more conflict in the region.

Watch this clip showing how Israeli peace activists are also calling for a ceasefire in Gaza by holding protests all over Israel.

This video is from the Cynthia's Pursuit of Truth channel on

More related stories:

Netanyahu REJECTS call for creation of a Palestinian state, says Israel must control EVERYTHING "from the river to the sea."

Only 15% of Israelis want Netanyahu to remain prime minister after the war.

U.S. vetoed Gaza ceasefire on same day it profited from arms sale to Israel.

Israeli experts do not believe Netanyahu can destroy Hamas and bring the hostages home.

Hostages held by Hamas in Gaza will be almost impossible to rescue, warns counterterrorism expert.

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