Israel rejects demand to end war as Haniyeh accuses Netanyahu of sabotaging truce deal

AFP , Ahram Online , Sunday 5 May 2024

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected Palestinian group Hamas's demand to end the war in Gaza in order to reach a ceasefire deal.

A Palestinian man pushes his bicycle in Beit Lahya in the northern Gaza Strip. AFP


"Israel cannot accept this," he said.

“Israel will not agree to Hamas’s demands, which mean surrender, and will continue the fighting until all its goals are achieved," Netanyahu told the cabinet, according to a statement by his office.

Netanyahu claimed that Israel is still open to a deal, but Hamas “remains entrenched in its positions.”

Qatari, Egyptian and US mediators met a Hamas delegation in Cairo on Saturday and a senior Hamas source close to the negotiations told AFP there would be "a new round" of talks on Sunday.

Netanyahu decided not to send a delegation at this stage, according to Times of Israel.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the Palestinian group was keen on reaching a comprehensive ceasefire that would end the Israeli “aggression”, guarantee Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and achieve a serious captive-swap deal, Reuters reported.

Haniyeh, in his statement, blamed Netanyahu for “the continuation of the aggression and the expansion of the circle of conflict, and sabotaging the efforts made through the mediators and various parties”.

Earlier a senior Hamas official insisted that the group would "not agree under any circumstances" to a truce that did not explicitly include a complete end to the war, including Israel's withdrawal from Gaza.

He accused Netanyahu of "personally hindering" efforts to reach a truce due to "personal interests".

On Firday, a top Hamas official, Hossam Badran accused Netanyahu of issuing statements intended to torpedo prospects for a truce.

He warned that Netanyahu's repeated statements insisting he will send troops into the territory's far southern city of Rafah were calculated to "thwart any possibility of concluding an agreement".

"Netanyahu was the obstructionist in all previous rounds of dialogue and previous negotiations, and it is clear that he still is," he said.

Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday, demanding Netanyahu, accept a ceasefire agreement with Hamas that would see the remaining Israeli captives brought home from Gaza.

Some protesters accusing Netanyahu of seeking to prolong the war.

"War is not holy, life is," the protesters chanted.


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