Netanyahu sets public red line on hostage deal: 'We will not compromise on these demands'

As security establishment claims Netanyahu is derailing a deal, the prime minister issued a public statement outlining 5 demands that he says he will not compromise on in any negotiations; 'Any deal will allow Israel to resume fighting until all of its war are achieved'; Hamas is expected to oppose it

Yuval Karmi|
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a hawkish announcement as a new round of negotiations to bring home the hostages in Gaza begins. Netanyahu issued a public statement on Sunday night about the negotiations for a hostage-cease-fire deal, and emphasized what are the principles that Israel will not give up on as part of the talks with Hamas.
These are the principles, according to a statement from Netanyahu's office:
1. Any deal will allow Israel to resume fighting until all of objectives of the war have been achieved.
2. There will be no smuggling of weapons to Hamas from Egypt to the Gaza border.
3. There will be no return of thousands of armed terrorists to the northern Gaza Strip.
4. Israel will maximize the number of living hostages who will be released from Hamas captivity.
5. The plan that has been agreed to by Israel and which has been welcomed by U.S. President Joe Biden will allow Israel to return hostages without infringing on the other objectives of the war.
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בנימין נתניהו
בנימין נתניהו
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Shaul Golan)
The condition that "There will be no return of thousands of armed terrorists to the northern Gaza Strip" is a clause that did not exist in the original wording of the agreement. This means, in practice, that the IDF will be the one to oversee the return of Gazans to the northern Gaza Strip, through control of the Netzarim Corridor that separates this area from the rest of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which demands the return of all displaced persons to their homes, is expected to oppose the IDF's continued control of the corridor during the cease-fire.
Officials in the political and security system received with astonishment Netanyahu's public announcement of red lines for the negotiations for the release of the hostages. The announcement came shortly Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and military personnel, met for a situation assessment ahead of the new negotiations.
A security official called this "improper conduct that will harm the chance of returning the hostages home. There is also a question of timing here. If you issue the announcement even negotiations have started then why negotiate? If this is the conduct, the hostages will never return.
Ynetnews commentator Ron Ben Yishai reports that the public repetition of the red lines is a deliberate hardening of the position toward Hamas, designed to appease Netanyahu's partners in the government. As far as the negotiation teams are concerned, once a public red line has been set, this is a hardening of positions, and the categorical wording makes it difficult to negotiate on these issues and leads to rigidity on the other side. This could sabotage the negotiations, but on the other hand - according to Netanyahu's version - this could be a tough start to the negotiations on the details, in order to reach better conclusions later on.
"The Prime Minister's firm stand against the attempt to stop the IDF operation in Rafah is what brought Hamas to enter into negotiations. The Prime Minister continues to firmly stand by the principles already agreed upon by Israel," according to Netanyahu's office.
The deal includes three stages; During the first stage all the women, the sick and the elderly hostages who remained in captivity will be released. These include 33 living and dead hostages, according to the reports, who will be released over six weeks. In the second phase, the rest of the living hostages, mainly the young men and the soldiers, are supposed to be released. This phase involves the most acute dispute in the agreement, since Hamas conditions it taking place on a permanent cease-fire - while Israel currently refuses this. In the third stage, the rest of the bodies of dead hostages are supposed to be released. At each stage of the deal, Israel is required to release hundreds of terrorists from Israeli prisons.
At the same time as the announcement by Netanyahu's office, a mass demonstration has been taking place with the participation of thousands on Menachem Begin Street in Tel Aviv, demanding elections and the return of the hostages, as part of the " Day of Disruption " initiated by protest organizations to mark nine months since the October 7 attack. Einav Tsengaoker, the mother of kidnapped hostage Matan, was raised in a cage above the protesters next to a sign with the inscription "We will not allow them to be torpedoed."
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עינב צנגאוקר, אמו של החטוף מתן צנגאוקר, נכנסה בכלוב שהתרומם מעל כביש בגין
עינב צנגאוקר, אמו של החטוף מתן צנגאוקר, נכנסה בכלוב שהתרומם מעל כביש בגין
Einav Tsengaoker, the mother of kidnapped hostage Matan, was raised in a cage above the protesters next to a sign with the inscription "We w
(Photo: Roi Rubeinstein)
"Tonight I rose five meters in a cage because we are all captives of Netanyahu and Sinwar," Tsengaoker said. "It's very simple: 'There is a deal on the table that can save lives and all of us. I want Matan at home, I want all the hostages at home now." She also addressed Netanyahu directly, saying: "The keys to this cage and other cages are in your hands. For nine months you abandon the hostages. Netanyahu, stop dragging your feet. We want them at home and it's up to you. Bring them home." Many protesters shouted, among other things: "You are not alone, we are with you."
Meanwhile, the contacts between the parties continue. Mossad head Dedi Barnea, is expected to meet on Wednesday in Doha, Qatar with the local prime minister, the head of the CIA and the head of Egyptian intelligence. In Egypt it was reported that the head of the CIA will arrive in Cairo this week, as will an "Israeli delegation" - which will leave for the city on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu claimed that Gallant's demand for the promotion of the ultra-Orthodox conscription law only with broad agreement gives the opposition the possibility to prevent the conscription of ultra-Orthodox men with the aim of "toppling the government, which will stop the release of hostages and bring defeat in the war." Gallant, on the other hand, attacked Netanyahu and accused: "This is a sensitive time. We need to make an agreement for the return of the hostages - the political attempt to link the release of the hostages with an exemption from conscription for the ultra-Orthodox is dangerous and irresponsible."
And while the defense minister and the prime minister conduct a public exchange of accusations, the "Day of Disruption" took place across the country on Sunday - demanding to replace the government and to carry out the hostage deal.
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