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Netanyahu: Hamas is making 'delusional, unrealistic' demands in hostage release negotiations

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference, Feb. 29, 2024 (Photo: Screenshot)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not optimistic that an agreement for the release of the Israeli hostages can be reached and said Israel was facing a “brick wall” in the negotiations with Hamas.

“We face a brick wall of delusional, unrealistic Hamas demands,” Netanyahu during a press conference in Tel Aviv on Thursday. He said that Hamas “knows its demands are delusional and is not even trying to move close to an area of agreement. That’s the situation.”

The prime minister stated unequivocally that he could not guarantee the successful negotiation of a deal.

“We are all hopeful, but I’m giving you the current assessment… We continue to act, continue to hope, but I can’t make a promise at this moment” he said.

By contrast, U.S. President Joe Biden said earlier this week that he was optimistic that a deal for the release of at least some of the hostages in exchange for a truce could be reached as soon as Monday.

Despite Netanyahu's statement, he pledged that Israel would retrieve all the hostages “with or without a framework” and that before agreeing to any deal, he wanted to see the names of the hostages that would be released. Until now, Hamas has not issued a list of the hostages that are still alive, as required by Israel.

The leader of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh claimed on Wednesday that the terrorist organization is showing “flexibility” in the negotiations with Israel.

“The flexibility we show in negotiations out of concern for the blood of our people, and to put an end to their great pain and enormous sacrifices in the brutal war of genocide against them, is paralleled by a willingness to defend our people,” Haniyeh said in a speech on Wednesday.

“We assure the Zionists and the United States, their partner in the aggression, that what they were unable to impose on the field will not be achieved through political machinations, whatever forms of deception and pressure they employ,” Haniyeh added.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu said that Israeli Defense Forces would continue to prepare to fight Hamas battalions in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, the last main stronghold of Hamas, near the Egyptian border. He pledged to protect the Gazan civilians in those areas.

“We will do this by evacuating civilians from combat zones. We will do this by taking care of their humanitarian needs, and we will do this by following international law,” the prime minister said.

At the press conference, Netanyahu stressed that a new Harvard-Harris poll taken this week found that 82% of Americans support Israel.  

“More than four in five American citizens support us and not Hamas and that gives us the strength to continue the campaign until Hamas is destroyed,” Netanyahu said.

Biden recently claimed that Israel is losing international support over its “incredibly conservative government.”

Addressing the increasing tensions between Netanyahu and Biden, and the rumor that Biden reportedly called Netanyahu an a—hole, Netanyahu said he is not affected.

“Whether there were such denigrations, or briefings about them doesn’t influence me in the slightest.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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