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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Hamas demands delusional – Israel

West Jerusalem has vowed to achieve its “just war objectives” in Gaza

The United Nations Security Council has emboldened Palestinian militants to make unacceptable demands, jeopardizing the prospects of a hostage release deal and Gaza ceasefire, Israel claimed on Tuesday.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of demonstrating “utter disinterest in a negotiated deal,” after a UNSC resolution on Monday called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and unconditional release of the remaining Israeli hostages being held by the Palestinian militant group.

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According to Israel, Hamas demanded an “immediate halt to the war, the complete withdrawal of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] from the Gaza Strip and leaving in place its administration.”

“Israel will not address Hamas’s delusional demands. Israel will pursue and achieve its just war objectives: Destroying Hamas’s military and governmental capacities, release of all the hostages, and ensuring Gaza will not pose a threat to the people of Israel in the future,” Netanyahu’s office said.

Israel has been waging a relentless air and ground campaign against Gaza for more than five months, following Hamas’ surprise attack on the Jewish state on October 7, which saw 1,100 people killed and 250 taken hostage. Israeli forces have since killed nearly 32,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, according to the latest figures from the Gaza Health Ministry.

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The two sides have been engaged in indirect talks in Qatar, discussing a potential temporary truce during which some 40 Israeli hostages would be released in return for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. While Israel suggested the UN resolution jeopardized the negotiations, the Qatari Foreign Ministry insisted on Tuesday that it had no “immediate effect on the talks, they are ongoing as they were before.”

After the US refused to use its veto powers at the UNSC, Israel accused Washington of retreating from its “consistent position” and canceled a high-level visit to America. The White House said it was “perplexed” by Netanyahu’s reaction, while some officials told Axios that the Israeli leader could be manufacturing an artificial crisis to garner support for a planned military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Netanyahu has maintained for months that the remaining Hamas strongholds must be completely “eliminated.” However, with more than a million Palestinians driven into Rafah by Israeli attacks on other parts of the enclave, an assault on the city “could lead to a slaughter” of civilians, the UN has warned.