‘I Cannot Commit to Bringing All Captives Home Alive’ – Smotrich

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. (Photo: via Smotrich TW Page)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Israel’s Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has reportedly told the families of captives held in the Gaza Strip that he cannot commit to bringing them all back alive.

According to the Anadolu news agency, Israeli media reported that Smotrich made the remarks in a meeting with the families of the captives last Monday.

The discussion dealt with “the operational activity in Gaza and the dilemmas surrounding the release of their loved ones,” the Israel Hayom newspaper reportedly said.

Anadolu reports that in a leaked recording of the meeting published by the newspaper, Smotrich was heard saying to the families: “I cannot commit to bringing all captives home alive.”

Israel Poisoned Its Own Captive Soldiers – Israeli Media

“I cannot promise that to you. I am saying it as it is – I cannot commit. I’m not looking at anyone and telling him ‘I’ll bring your son back alive,'” he said. ​​​​​​​

Smotrich added that “I can say that I will do everything to bring him back. I will do my utmost to the best of my judgment and conscience in a way that will best serve the prospect of returning him.”

“But I will be chiefly looking out for the good of Israel and the Jewish people, our security and existence many years ahead,” he added.

‘No Stone Left Unturned’

Smotrich also said troops are making their way towards Rafah.

“First we deal with Khan Younis. We will deal with Rafah with the same thoroughness and aggressiveness as we dealt with the north (of the Gaza Strip,” he said.

“And as we are dealing with Khan Younis, we will not leave a stone unturned, not even in the Philadelphi Route, we will make sure there is no threat from Gaza to Israel.”

He added that “The best chance to bring back the captives is through having Yahya Sinwar understand that he had run out of oxygen.”

Families of Israeli Captives Storm Knesset, Camp outside Netanyahu’s Home (VIDEO)

Thousands Protest in Tel Aviv

In recent weeks, Israelis have increased pressure on the government through protests to negotiate a hostage swap and ceasefire in Gaza with the Resistance Movement Hamas.

Late on Wednesday, around 5,000 protesters, including families of hostages, reportedly closed two main streets in Tel Aviv, demanding an immediate deal for the release of the captives.

According to Israeli media, they held up photos of the hostages and banners with slogans such as “Deal Now” “Ceasefire,” “Bring back the hostages” and “There is no military solution to a political problem.”

Last Sunday, families of Israeli captives held a sit-in protest outside the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding their immediate release.

On Monday morning, a group of relatives of Israeli captives also stormed a parliamentary committee session in Jerusalem, demanding that the lawmakers do more to release their children, Reuters reported.

Intensive Talks Underway for One-Month Truce in Gaza – Reuters

Egypt, Qatar and the US are sponsoring efforts to reach a second temporary ceasefire in fighting in Gaza. The first deal was reached in November last year, resulting in the release of 105 detainees held by Hamas, while 240 Palestinian prisoners were released. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 25,700 Palestinians have been killed, and 63,730 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

(PC, Anadolu)

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