Israel sees hostage crisis ending shortly but rejects ‘US vision’ for post war Gaza


Netanyahu said on Sunday that a hostage deal with Hamas could be near but refused to divulge details to avoid what he called “derailing the delicate negotiations to free those taken captive during the militant attack on Israeli communities October 7”.

“I think the less I say about it, the more I’ll increase the chances that it materializes,” he told NBC News’ “Meet the Press”.

Netanyahu credited Israel’s military pressure for getting Hamas to discuss the release.

“That’s the one thing that might create a deal,” he said.

“We will talk about it when it’s there. We’ll announce it if it’s achievable.”

The hostage talks were drawing extensive and sometimes contradictory signals.

A Biden administration official confirmed that a possible deal was round the corner involving the release of about 80 women and children in exchange for the release of Palestinian women and teenagers held by Israel, NBC News reported.

The official, whom NBC did not name, acknowledged there is no certainty that any deal will come to fruition.

But a UK-based agency reported that Hamas decided Sunday to suspend hostage negotiations because of Israel’s assault on Al Shifa Hospital, a Palestinian official briefed on the hostage talks was quoted as saying.

Netanyahu has firmly rejected the Biden administration’s vision for post-war Gaza, saying the Palestinian Authority that now administers the West Bank will not assume governance over the war-battered enclave.

Israel will retain overall security control and retain the right to attack any “terrorists who may pop up again”, Netanyahu said Saturday.

Israel has been unrelentingly pounding Gaza since Hamas militants crashed over the border on a murderous rampage through Israeli communities on October 7.

Netanyahu, who credited the Israeli assault for pushing Hamas closer to a deal to free hostage, vowed not to “cave” to global pressure to cede control of Gaza to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“There will… not be a civil authority that educates its children to hate Israel, to kill Israelis, to eliminate the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

“There cannot be an authority whose leader still has not condemned the terrible massacre 30 days later.”

The area around the biggest hospital in Gaza Al Shifa was pounded by heavy artillery.

Palestinian officials claimed thousands of civilians have taken refuge there, but Israeli officials accused Hamas of concealing a command post in the hospital compound which militant outfit denied outright.

Israel’s military said there was a safe corridor for civilians to evacuate from Shifa to southern Gaza, but many Palestinians said they were afraid to go outside.



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