Netanyahu rejects Hamas' terms for hostage deal, including leaving it in power in Gaza

Netanyahu stated "only total victory will ensure the elimination of Hamas and the return of all our hostages."

Amber Tay | January 22, 2024, 05:04 PM



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected conditions proposed by Hamas to end the war and release hostages on Jan. 21.

In response, a Hamas official said there was "no chance" of returning the remaining hostages.

"Utterly reject the Hamas monsters' capitulation terms"

Netanyahu said in a statement, "Hamas is demanding, in exchange for the release of our hostages, the end of the war, the withdrawal of our forces from Gaza, the release of the murders and rapists of the Nukhba and leaving Hamas in place."

"I utterly reject the Hamas monsters' capitulation terms," Netanyahu said. His reason was that by accepting such conditions, the deaths of Israeli soldiers would have been in vain and they would not be able to ensure the security of their citizens.

He continued that "only total victory will ensure the elimination of Hamas and the return of all our hostages" and " the establishment of a Palestinian state...would...constituted an existential danger to Israel."

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters Netanyahu's refusal to end the attack on Gaza "means there is no chance for the return of the (Israeli) captives."

An 18-page document by Hamas was also released on Jan. 21 that explained their reasoning behind the Oct. 7 attack to be a "necessary step," though they admitted "some faults happened" due to "the rapid collapse of the Israeli security and military system, and the chaos caused along the border areas with Gaza."

More than 100 hostages remain in captivity

According to Associated Press, Hamas abducted an estimated 250 during the terrorist attack of Oct. 7, along with killing 1,200 others. As of Jan. 22, an estimated 100 hostages remain in captivity.

In late November, more than 100 hostages were released in exchange for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons through a deal backed by the United States, Qatar and Egypt.

Israeli families have continued to rally and demand the remaining hostages to be brought back home safely, with dozens of hostages' relatives gathering outside Netanyahu's private home in Caesarea on Jan. 19 to protest.

As reported by Reuters, the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum said Netanyahu should "clearly state that we will not abandon civilians, soldiers, and others kidnapped in the October debacle" and "if the prime minister decides to sacrifice the hostages, he should show leadership and honestly share his position with the Israeli public."

The death toll in the Gaza strip is estimated to be over 25,100, as of Jan. 21, 2024, with two-thirds of those killed being women and children.

Top image via Hostages and Missing Families Forum