‘no change’ on Israel’s stance on Gaza ceasefire deal

Netanyahu continues to blame Hamas for the lack of progress in a peace deal, despite his rejection of a permanent truce [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday there is no change in his position about a ceasefire and prisoner exchange deal backed by US President Joe Biden, blaming Hamas for the failure of the deal.

In a speech at the beginning of the weekly Israeli government meeting, which was broadcast on his account on the X platform, Netanyahu said he would continue to make defeating Hamas Israel’s Gaza war priority.

“We are committed to fighting until we achieve all our objectives: eliminating Hamas, returning all our hostages, ensuring that Gaza never again poses a threat to Israel and the safe return of our residents to their homes in the south and north,” he said.

“Regarding the sacred mission of freeing our hostages: There is no change in Israel’s position on the release outline that President Biden has welcomed.”

Despite Netanyahu’s claim that Israel’s position is in line with the Biden proposal, the Israeli PM continues to reject a permanent ceasefire, which was included in the US president’s initial proposal and something that Hamas insists is a condition for any hostage exchange deal.

Israel and the US continue to blame Hamas for the failure of Biden’s deal, despite the movement actually supporting what Biden announced on 31 May, which included a phased return of all hostages in exchange for a permanent ceasefire.

On Saturday, it emerged that the US has “changed the language” of the proposal in an attempt to “bridge the gap” between Israel and Hamas’s positions on a deal.

Later that day, Hamas’s spokesperson Osama Hamdan said they received the revised proposal on 24 June and it included “nothing new”, and there was “no real progress to stop the Israeli aggression”.

Hamdan claimed the US’s revised proposals were “merely a waste of time and provide additional time for the occupation to practice genocide” and that Hamas was put under pressure to agree a deal that had no guarantee of a permanent ceasefire.

Last week, Netanyahu provoked outrage among the families of Israeli hostages when he said that he was only open to a partial agreement to release some captives.

Israel has continually rejected any permanent ceasefire, including a US-backed UN Security Council resolution demanding one.

Nearly 37,900 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza, most of whom are women and children, while much of the enclave has been made uninhabitable.

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