Hamas Refuses To Budge On Hostage Exchange

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend said the war against Hamas would continue for “many more months,” pushing back against international calls for another ceasefire, CBS News reported.

In a press conference on Saturday, the Israeli Prime Minister also thanked the Biden administration for its continued support, including the State Department’s approval of a second emergency weapons sale on Friday and the administration’s prevention of a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Israel has maintained that a ceasefire now would be a victory for Hamas.

Last Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Congress that he had approved another $147.5 million sale to Israel for the fuses, charges, and primers needed for the sale of 155mm shells Israel previously purchased.

Secretary Blinken, who has been traveling to and from the Middle East throughout the war, is expected to return to the region this month. US officials have been urging Israel to shift from high-intensity operations to more targeted combat.

However, Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel needed more time.

He told reporters in a televised press conference that the war against Hamas “will continue many more months.” He said he had been clear that Israel would continue fighting until all of its objectives had been achieved, most notably, “the annihilation of Hamas and the release of all the hostages.”

Hamas has already asserted that it would not discuss the release of additional hostages until Israel ends all combat in Gaza.

Last Monday, Hamas rejected an Egyptian proposal for a phased release of the hostages and the formation of a joint Palestinian government led by experts who would serve as administrators for both Gaza and the West Bank.

Senior Hamas official Izzat Rishq reiterated that Hamas would not accept a “temporary or partial truce” and would not negotiate without a “complete end to the aggression.”

When asked about news reports indicating possible progress toward a deal, Netanyahu said while there was “a possibility” for movement, he didn’t want to raise “exaggerated expectations.”