Netanyahu says 'delusional' Hamas demands jamming hostage deal talks

PM stresses importance of intense military pressure on terror group as part of negotiations, underscores necessity of expanding ground operations to Rafah

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday evening that the negotiations for a potential deal to secure the release of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip are stalled due to the "delusional" demands made by Hamas.
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"The essence of our struggle to free the hostages is negotiation and intense military pressure. So far, Hamas' demands have been delusional and signify one thing, Israel’s defeat,” he said at the opening of a press conference from his Jerusalem office.
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מסיבת עיתונאים של ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו במשרד רה"מ בירושלים
מסיבת עיתונאים של ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו במשרד רה"מ בירושלים
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Gil Yochanan)
“Clearly, we cannot accept these terms. However, when Hamas steps back from these delusional demands, we can make progress."
Netanyahu emphasized Israel's commitment to achieving “absolute victory,” and underscored the necessity of expanding ground operations to the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, which hosts over a million Palestinians displaced by fighting elsewhere in the territory and where Israel identified as hosting four Hamas battalions.
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מחנה אוהלים ברפיח
מחנה אוהלים ברפיח
Displaced persons' encampments in Gaza's Rafah
(Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, Reuters)
“I spoke with President Biden, and I speak daily with other world leaders. I unequivocally state that Israel will fight until absolute victory, including in Rafah. Anyone who wants to prevent us from acting in Rafah is essentially telling us to lose the war. I will not allow that,” he said.
The premier also addressed reports that Washington and its regional allies were trying to fast-track a comprehensive deal that would include Palestinian statehood, saying that a broader diplomatic deal with the Palestinians could only be reached through direct negotiations without any preconditions.
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