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No Gaza ceasefire until Israel’s war goals are achieved, Netanyahu says

  • Author, Adam Durbin
  • Role, bbc news

Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that there will be no permanent ceasefire in Gaza until Hamas’s military and governance capabilities are destroyed and all hostages are released.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s statement comes after US President Joe Biden announced that Israel had proposed to Hamas a three-stage plan aimed at reaching a permanent ceasefire.

Hamas has already indicated that it views the proposals “positively.”

The talks come as fighting continues in Rafah, with reports of Israeli airstrikes on Saturday on the city on Egypt’s border with Gaza.

There is no guarantee that Biden’s public pressure on Israel and Hamas to accept the plan will result in a deal.

In a statement on Saturday, Netanyahu’s office said Israel’s “conditions for ending the war have not changed.”

“The destruction of Hamas’ military and governance capabilities, the release of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer represents a threat to Israel,” he said.

The statement added that Israel “will continue to insist that these conditions be met” before agreeing to a permanent ceasefire, emphasizing that no agreement can be signed before meeting them.

On Friday, Biden described the plan as a comprehensive Israeli proposal that paved the way for a permanent ceasefire.

The first phase would include a full and complete ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas and the exchange of some hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

This would be followed by the return of all remaining live hostages, including the male soldiers.

The final phase would see the return of the final remains of deceased Israeli hostages, as well as a “major reconstruction plan” with U.S. and international assistance to rebuild homes, schools and hospitals, Biden said.

A complete end to the conflict has been a key Hamas demand for talks.

Biden acknowledged that not everyone in Israel would agree with the plan, but urged authorities to resist the pressure.

There has been no word so far from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right allies, who are likely to oppose the proposal.

They previously threatened to leave the coalition, which could result in the collapse of Netanyahu’s government.

But one of Israel’s most influential opposition politicians, Yair Lapid, has promised to back Netanyahu if he supports the ceasefire deal.

In a social media post, Lapid told the Israeli prime minister that he “has our safety net for a hostage deal” if far-right allies such as national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and finance minister , Bezalel Smotrich, leave the government.

Israel has stepped up attacks on the key city of Rafah in recent weeks, claiming operational control of the entire border with Egypt.

According to Egyptian media reports, US, Israeli and Egyptian officials will meet in Cairo on Sunday to discuss reopening the Rafah crossing.

Aid flows into Gaza have been restricted since the border was closed in early May, after Israeli forces took control of it as part of their offensive to seize control of Gaza’s southern border.

More than 36,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the conflict, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

The war began in October, when Hamas gunmen launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking 252 back to Gaza as hostages.

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