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Netanyahu ‘refuses proposal for new truce talks’ with Hamas

Netanyahu ‘refuses new truce talks with Hamas’ amid war cabinet bickering
2 min read
20 May, 2024
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly refused new indirect truce talks with Hamas, saying he opposed any deal which ended the Gaza war.
Netanyahu's position has led to divisions in the Israeli war cabinet [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday refused to approve proposals by Israeli negotiators for renewed indirect negotiations with Hamas for a hostage deal, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

The Israeli public broadcaster Kan said that Netanyahu rejected the proposals while admonishing the negotiators - who are led by Mossad chief David Barnea, Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar and Israeli army General Nitzan Alon – saying “this is not how to run negotiations”.

They had reportedly proposed a deal offering Hamas a measure of “sustained calm” in exchange for freeing hostage.

However, Netanyahu said that he “will not agree to any proposal that ends the war,” according to Israeli Channel 12 television.

His comments led to bickering in the Israeli war cabinet, with Netanyahu’s rival Benny Gantz reportedly saying, “It is apparent you are unhappy with [the negotiators’] work. If that is so, replace them and bring someone you trust and believe in,” according to Channel 12.

Gadi Eisenkot, another war cabinet member, told Netanyahu, “No one here wants to stop the war, but your position does not allow us to bring back the hostages. You’re not leaving the team with any possible path toward reaching a deal.”

A third minister told Kan that “it has become clearer that Netanyahu doesn’t want a deal” adding that negotiator Nitzan Alon was in “despair”.

However, sources close to Netanyahu rejected the reports saying he was “working round the clock” to bring back hostages seized by Hamas on October 7.

Earlier this month, Hamas accepted a truce deal that would have paused fighting in Gaza in exchange for the release of Israeli  hostages.

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However, Israel refused to accept and pressed on with attacks on Rafah, killing scores of people and displacing thousands more.

Israel has killed at least 35,562 people in Gaza and devastated the territory with its indiscriminate attacks since October 7, when Hamas launched a deadly surprise attack on southern Israel.

Israeli media says around 124 hostages remain in Gaza, around 37 of whom are confirmed dead. 105 were released in a previous truce deal which lasted one week.