Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem on March 31, 2024. Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/POOL . Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Netanyahu: ‘The notion that Israel will agree to a permanent ceasefire before these conditions are fulfilled is a non-starter.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Following a statement from US President Joe Biden urging Israel to agree to the newest version of a hostage and ceasefire deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there would be no ceasefire until Hamas is completely defeated.

Biden announced a three-phase hostage deal that would see the release of the remaining hostages in Gaza and an end to the war.

Past deals have reached an impasse because Hamas refused to release hostages unless Israel agreed to a permanent ceasefire in the first phase; in the current proposal, a temporary truce would lead to a permanent end to the war if Hamas complies with all of the conditions.

On Saturday, Netanyahu released a statement in English and said, “Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: The destruction of Hamas military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel.”

“Israel will continue to insist these conditions are met before a permanent ceasefire is put in place. The notion that Israel will agree to a permanent ceasefire before these conditions are fulfilled is a non-starter,” he added.

The plan would need to be approved by the security cabinet, including Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, whose support Netanyahu needs for his coalition’s majority.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid urged Netanyahu to accept the plan and said he would ensure a majority in the Knesset should Ben Gvir and Smotrich reject the proposal.

Gili Roman, whose sister Yarden is being held hostage by Hamas, told The Associated Press, “This might be the last chance to save lives.”

He added, “There is no other way towards a better situation for all. Our leadership must not disappoint us. But mostly, all eyes should be on Hamas.”

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