US officials: Netanyahu to favor political survival over hostage deal

Blinke says publicly that PM committed to his proposed deal, to block PM's attempts to foil a path to the agreement; reject NBC reporting U.S. negotiating with Hamas to free American nationals  

The Biden administration is worried that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attempt to foil chances for a hostage exchange deal and believe that although his government is committed to the release of hostages, it is not committed to ending the war, American officials said on Tuesday adding that that is why U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said publicly, that Netanyahu stood behind his own proposed deal.
Blinken spoke after meeting with Israeli officials and with the families of hostages who were demonstrating outside his hotel in Tel Aviv demanding their loved ones be released from Hamas captivity after being abducted eight months ago.
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פגישתם של ראש הממשלה נתניהו עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב בלינקן, בלשכת רה"מ בירושלים
פגישתם של ראש הממשלה נתניהו עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב בלינקן, בלשכת רה"מ בירושלים
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: GPO)
The American officials said they believed that Netanyahu would ultimately choose to do what was in his own, political interest.
They had no harsh words for outgoing war cabinet minister Benny Gantz who announced his resignation on Sunday, although they did attempt to convince him to stay. The officials said that they understood Gantz no longer had any effect, over decisions made under Netanyahu. One official said it may even be better for Gantz to leave the war cabinet and no longer provide the prime minister with a cover of legitimacy.
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בני גנץ
בני גנץ
Benny Gantz
(Photo: Dana Kopel)
NBC reported late on Monday that administration officials discussed a possible deal with Hamas for the release five of the hostages who hold American citizenship, but the officials said they did not believe the report had any validity.
The secretary said conversations on plans for the day-after-the-war in Gaza would continue on Tuesday afternoon and in the next couple of days. "It's imperative that we have these plans," he said.
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