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Netanyahu: Hamas has made no serious proposal for hostage deal

Relatives of Israelis held in Gaza disrupt a Knesset committee session.

Israelis call for the release of Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza, at "Hostage Square" in Tel Aviv, Jan. 20, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Israelis call for the release of Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza, at "Hostage Square" in Tel Aviv, Jan. 20, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Hamas has failed to offer any serious proposal for a deal that would see the 130-plus captives held by the terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip released, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

“Contrary to what is [being] said, there is no genuine proposal by Hamas,” Netanyahu told representatives of the hostages’ families during a meeting, according to a statement from his office. “This is not true.

“On the other hand, there is our initiative, which I will not detail,” stated Netanyahu, likely alluding to Saudi reports confirming renewed talks aimed at reviving the hostages-for-ceasefire deal that Hams violated in November.

On Sunday night, the prime minister confirmed that Hamas during negotiations had demanded that the Israel Defense Forces retreat from Gaza and end its war against the terrorist group, in addition to “the release of all the Nukhba [terrorist commando] murderers and rapists, and leaving Hamas intact.

“If we agree to this, our soldiers will have fallen in vain. If we agree to this, we will not be able to guarantee the security of our citizens. We will not be able to return the evacuees safely to their homes, and the next October 7 will only be a matter of time,” Netanyahu said.

On Monday, around 20 relatives of Israelis held hostage by Hamas disrupted a committee session at the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, demanding that lawmakers do more to free their loved ones.

Knesset security was unable to prevent the entry of the protesters, many of whom carried pictures of their family members taken to Gaza, and had to remove the group using force.

“Is it reasonable that 260 trucks of flour are entering Gaza now while my brother is eating nothing?” screamed Adi Angrest, whose brother Sgt. Matan Angrest remains in the Strip. “It doesn’t make any sense that my brother isn’t eating anything when they bring them 260 trucks of flour.”

Also on Monday, Netanyahu hosted French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Among other issues, the two men discussed a Paris-brokered deal under which medicines destined for Israeli hostages, but most of which ended up serving Hamas terrorists, entered the Gaza Strip late last week.

Netanyahu told Lecornu that he is still awaiting evidence that any of the medicines reached the Israeli hostages, and emphasized that the implementation of the agreement must be monitored, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

According to official Israeli figures, 136 hostages are still being held in Gaza out of 240 taken during the Hamas massacre on Oct. 7, although many are believed to be dead. Egypt and Qatar helped broker a deal in November that saw the release of more than 100 hostages.

Brett McGurk, the White House National Security Council’s coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, touched down in Egypt on Sunday for negotiations on another deal to release the remaining captives.

After meetings with Egypt’s intelligence minister, McGurk is scheduled to fly to Doha to meet with the country’s prime minister and foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

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