Gaza talks halted over ‘delusional’ demands: Netanyahu

February 18, 2024 by AAP
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Israel sent negotiators for truce talks in Cairo as requested by US President Joe Biden but they did not go back for further talks because Hamas’ demands are “delusional,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu also said Israel would not give in to “international dictates” regarding a statehood agreement with the Palestinians, which he said could only be reached through direct negotiations without preconditions.

The Egyptian and Qatari-mediated talks to try to reach a ceasefire in Gaza and secure the release of over 100 Israeli hostages being held in the Hamas-ruled territory have yet to produce results. A round of inconclusive talks in Cairo ended on Tuesday.

Asked during a press conference on Saturday why Israeli negotiators did not return for further talks, Netanyahu said: “We got nothing except for delusional demands from Hamas.”

He said those demands included ending the war and leaving Hamas as it is, freeing “thousands of murderers” from Israeli jails, and even demands regarding a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem known as the Temple Mount in Judaism and the Noble Sanctuary in Islam.

He said Israeli representatives in Cairo “sat and listened and there was no change. I wanted to say not a millimetre – but there was not a nanometre of change.”

Netanyahu said they had no reason to go back “until we see a change”.

Adding pressure on Netanyahu to reach a deal with Hamas, thousands of Israelis gathered outside the military headquarters in Tel Aviv in support of the hostages still in Gaza.

They held up photographs and signs calling for their release, including one that read: “Time is running out!”

Among them was Michael Levy, whose brother Or was taken hostage from an outdoor dance festival near the Gaza border in the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7 which triggered the present war.

“We have no time anymore. My brother,” he said, pausing to look down at his shirt with his brother’s picture, “has lost his wife, (she) was murdered in this horrible attack on October 7. He has a son, a two-year-old son, who is waiting for him at home.”

The Hamas attack killed some 1200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli tallies.

The militants also seized 253 hostages, though more than 100 of them were freed in a short-lived November truce.

Israel’s air and ground offensive has since devastated much of Gaza, killing 28,775 people, also mostly civilians, according to Palestinian health authorities, and forcing nearly all of its more than two million inhabitants from their homes.

Regarding the possible “unilateral recognition” of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu said there could not be a “bigger prize for terrorism”.

“Israel, under my leadership, will continue to strongly oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” he said.

“An arrangement can be reached only through direct negotiations between the sides, without preconditions.”

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has blamed Israel for a lack of progress in achieving a ceasefire deal in Gaza, the group said in a statement on Saturday.

Haniyeh said Hamas would not accept anything less than a complete cessation of hostilities, Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and “lifting of the unjust siege”, as well as a release of Palestinian prisoners serving long sentences in Israeli jails.



2 Responses to “Gaza talks halted over ‘delusional’ demands: Netanyahu”
  1. Gil Solomon says:

    It is one thing for those agonizing for the return of their loved ones from Hamas incarceration, but it is quite another to watch masses of Leftist Israelis using this tragedy to agitate by the tens of thousands for the downfall of the Netanyahu Government. As Prime Minister, Netanyahu needs to ensure the security of the nation, but buckling into Hamas’ demands or the demands of Western countries, the UN or whoever, will take Israel on a path to destruction. It is abundantly clear that should Netanyahu fall and be replaced by a Leftist – be it a former IDF General or not, then where the country goes from there is anyone’s guess, but in all likelihood it won’t end well.

  2. Morris Givner,Ph.D.,Prof.of Path. (Ret.) and Assoc.Prof. of Med.(Ret.) says:

    The problem is that Israel is facing on a daily basis and for the past 1400 years a religious ideology that worships the God of death and religious and political leaders of 22 Nations of a resurgent Arab Empire and Iran of great wealth and vast land areas publicly proclaim on a daily basis that their goal is to kill Jews,Christians and other non-believers and destroy tiny and democratic Israel.The Western nations of the U.S.,EU,U.K.,Norway,Canada and all the Muslim nations have sent trillions of dollars since 1948 to the “Palestinians” a fictional nation who have used the money to buy weapons,rocket bombs and to dig vast costly tunnels to kill Jews and destroy Israel. The Western nations are only interested in ingratiating themselves with the wealthy Arab and Iranian nations so they will buy their products including nuclear centrifuges to Iran for the manufacture of nuclear weapons and give them profitable access to their oil wealth.The Western nations are totally indifferent that their Western civilization is under a daily threat by Muslim immigrants stupidly invited in the millions into Europe by Merkel of Germany and who refuse to integrate into Western society but actively promote and impose their Muslim cultural values on their host nations. It is no exaggeration to state that is Israel is fighting for existence every day of the year.

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