A militant leader of Hamas said the remaining 130 Israeli hostages will never be freed after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned down the terrorist organization’s conditions for bringing the war to an end, according to the New York Post.
The development comes after more than 100 consecutive days of war between the two sides. Hamas’ surprise attack against the Jewish state in early October resulted in the deaths of 1,200 Israelis, and 240 more were abducted and taken into Gaza.
In a video address on Sunday, Netanyahu said: “In exchange for the release of our hostages, Hamas demands the end of the war, the withdrawal of our forces from Gaza, the release of all the murderers and rapists.”
“And leaving Hamas intact. I reject outright the terms of surrender of the monsters of Hamas.”
In response, Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior Hamas official, said Israel’s refusal to put an end to its military operations in the area “means there is no chance for the return of the [Israeli] captives,” according to the Post.
Netanyahu also expressed his insistence that the Jewish state would maintain “full security control” of “all territory west of the Jordan River.” This comes after the Israeli prime minister spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden about setting up an independent Palestinian state in the region, per Reuters.
Biden went on to suggest that it could be possible to establish a Palestinian state that would involve a non-militarized government. However, Netanyahu does not appear to be budging on this issue, saying many “international and internal pressures” have tried to get him to change his position on the matter.
“My insistence is what prevented for years the establishment of a Palestinian state that would have posed an existential danger to Israel,” Netanyahu said.
But family members of the Israeli hostages still being held by Hamas appeared outside Netanyahu’s residence on Sunday to demand he find a way to bring their loved ones home.
“We need the government to now fix the problem that they have created and get these hostages home immediately,” said Jon Polin, the father of Hersh Goldberg-Polin.
The Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum urged the prime minister to clearly express that “we will not abandon civilians, soldiers and others kidnapped in the October debacle.”
“We must advance the deal now. If the prime minister decides to sacrifice the hostages, he should show leadership and honestly share his position with the Israeli public,” the group said, per the Post.
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