Hamas views Netanyahu's remarks on ‘partial deal” as rejection of Biden’s proposal

Ahram Online , Monday 24 Jun 2024

Hamas said that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks on his readiness for a ‘partial deal” in Gaza is a rejection of the ceasefire proposal endorsed by US President Joe Biden.

A man mourns by the body of Palestinian doctor Hani al-Jaafarawi, Gaza s ambulance and emergency teams chief during his funeral at Al-Ahli Arab hospital, also known as the Baptist hospital on June 24, 2024, a day after he was reportedly killed in an overnight Israeli strike on al-Daraj clinic in Gaza City.AFP


In an interview with Israeli Channel 14 on Sunday, Netanyahu said that Tel Aviv was prepared to pause fighting in Gaza for a partial deal in exchange for the return of a number of captives but insisted the war will not end until Hamas is destroyed.

"Our insistence that any agreement includes a clear confirmation of a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and a complete withdrawal of the Israeli army is an absolute necessity in order to curb Netanyahu's attempts to evade, deceive, and perpetuate aggression," Hamas said in a statement.

The Palestinian resistance group also considered Netanyahu's position as "a clear confirmation that he rejects the recent Security Council decision and the proposals of US President Joe Biden, contrary to what the US administration tried to market."

In his comments, Netanyahu said the intense fighting phase in the Gaza Strip was winding down as Israel increasingly readies for a potential outright war with Lebanon’s resistance group Hezbollah.

Asked whether he was prepared to reach an agreement with Hamas after the high-intensity phase of the invasion is over that would constitute a commitment to end the war, Netanyahu said: “No. I’m not prepared to end the war and leave Hamas in place. I am prepared to do a partial deal, that’s no secret, that would return some of the people to us.”

Netanyahu's comments also sparked criticism inside Israel as sources involved in the latest round of captive talks slammed the premier’s remarks, telling the Haaretz daily, “Netanyahu clarified today that he is not interested in the release of all the hostages — the demand he himself is making of Hamas — and is not prepared to provide the goods that Hamas is demanding.”

An Israeli official cited by the Walla news site issued similar criticism, saying, “Netanyahu’s comments this evening caused tremendous damage to the chances for reaching a deal.”

Furthermore, Axios news website reported that the Israeli prime minister “walked back” on an Israeli proposal outlined by Biden.

It said that Netanyahu's comments contradicted statements by Biden administration officials who in recent days said Netanyahu and his aides had reiterated their support for the proposal.

The plan was approved by the Israeli war cabinet, Biden claimed in a speech late May while labelling it as "an Israeli roadmap."

Although Netanyahu has not publicly endorsed what Biden outlined, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed Netanyahu has "reaffirmed his commitment" to the ceasefire plan, and that if it does not progress Hamas will be to blame.

Hamas officially responded to the proposal nearly two weeks after Biden's speech, asserting that it has given a responsible, serious, and positive response to the proposed Gaza truce which is consistent "with the demands of our people and our resistance and opens a wide way to reach an agreement."

Netanyahu claimed his position "was no secret" but it was the first time that he spoke publicly about a "partial deal" or suggested he hadn't intended to implement all three phases in the proposal, Axios said.

The White House declined to comment on Netanyahu's remarks.


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