Hamas’ Demands are ‘Delusional’ – Netanyahu Vows to Press Ahead with Rafah Invasion

Israel continues to bomb Gaza by air, land and sea. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

While Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu remains determined to invade Rafah, he claimed Hamas’ demands in the negotiations mean one thing only: The defeat of Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Tel Aviv will not agree to the “delusional” demands by Hamas as he vowed to press ahead with a ground offensive into Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

In an address on Saturday night, Netanyahu said “Hamas’ demands have been delusional and signify only one thing: The defeat of Israel.”

“It is clear that we will not agree to them. If Hamas drops these demands, we can move forward,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, stressed that the resistance’s demands are clear.

Haniyeh said, “the Resistance will not accept anything less than a complete cessation of aggression” as well as “the withdrawal of the occupation army from the Gaza Strip.”

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Other demands are “the lifting of the unjust siege, the provision of safe and appropriate shelter for the displaced due to the crimes of the occupation, the return of the displaced, especially to the northern Gaza Strip, an end to the barbaric starvation policy, and a commitment to reconstruction.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu also said “Israel is going to fight until it reaches a total victory, and yes it includes also (an) operation in Rafah.”

He added “we will enable those citizens that are there to be evacuated to safe places. Because if you prevent us from fighting in Rafah you are actually saying ‘lose the war’, and I’m not going to give a hand to that.”

No Progress in Negotiations

Israeli Channel 12 on Saturday reported that Netanyahu would present his government with a plan next week for the army’s attack on Rafah, according to Anadolu. 

The PM also reportedly said in his speech, “We have enough strength to destroy Hamas’ power in Gaza and we must destroy most of its brigades, and we have made great progress in this regard.”

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Last Tuesday, negotiations on a proposed new hostage swap deal were held in Cairo, with no progress.

Haniyeh, in his statement, emphasized that “Hamas responded all the time in a positive spirit and responsibly with the mediators in order to stop the aggression against our people, to end the unjust siege, and to allow the flow of aid, shelter, and reconstruction.”

‘No Elections’

Regarding negotiations with the Palestinians, Netanyahu reportedly said, “Israel will not ‘succumb to international dictates’ regarding the future settlement with the Palestinians.”

He added: “Under my leadership, Israel will continue its strong opposition to the unilateral recognition of the Palestinian state.”

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Anadolu reports that in a reference to ongoing popular protests in several Israeli cities since the war began, demanding the resignation of the government, Netanyahu expressed opposition to holding elections during the conflict.

He said, “The last thing Israel needs right now is to hold elections.”

Israelis have been demonstrating regularly to demand the resignation of Netanyahu’s government and the release of the hostages, but central protests are reportedly organized every Saturday across the country.

(PC, Anadolu)

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