Netanyahu issues list of ‘nonnegotiable’ demands as hostage talks slated to restart

Demonstrators protest for the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip, outside the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, July 7, 2024. Einav Zangauker, the mother of hostage Matan Zangauker, is standing in the cage at left. The slogan on the cage reads, “Netanyahu, it’s in your hands.” (Itai Ron/ Flash90
Published July 8, 2023

Security officials, mediators accuse PM of intentionally sabotaging deal by highlighting gaps in positions ahead of delegation’s departure to Cairo and Doha this week

Ahead of the Israeli negotiating team’s departure for further hostage deal talks in Cairo and Doha later this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a list on Sunday evening of what he said were nonnegotiable Israeli demands, including a guarantee that Israel could resume fighting, which would need to be met in any hostage release and ceasefire deal with Hamas.Netanyahu’s statement, at a crucial phase ahead of the resumption of talks, sparked anger, both in Israel and among mediators, with some accusing him of attempting to sabotage hard-won progress.
The renewed negotiations in both Egypt and Qatar come after the Hamas terror group said on Saturday that it was ready to discuss a hostage deal and an end to the war in Gaza without an upfront commitment by Israel to a “complete and permanent ceasefire.” That statement constitutes a shift in the position Hamas has held in all previous negotiations since November.Hamas’s altered stance regarding the US-backed proposal for a phased truce and hostage exchange deal in Gaza could potentially pave the way for the first pause in fighting since November, although all sides have cautioned that a deal is still not guaranteed.


RELATED: Netanyahu’s new conditions could hamper cease-fire talks before they start

As talks continued to sputter, Israel’s military moved into Gaza City in the north of the Strip, prompting widespread civilian displacement.

An Israeli activist wears a mask depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as thousands demonstrate against the government in Tel Aviv on July 6, 2024. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)
Published July 8, 2024

The statement, issued at a crunch moment for talks, appeared to raise the bar for what Israel would accept in a deal and further tempered any lingering expectations of an imminent peace.

Netanyahu stipulated that “any deal will allow Israel to resume fighting until all of the objectives of the war have been achieved.” A statement issued by his office suggested that the prime minister would be unwilling to fully commit to a permanent cease-fire until the complete elimination of Hamas in Gaza — something he has repeatedly described as a key aim of the war, alongside the release of the hostages and the ensuring of Israel’s security.


Netanyahu’s office also said that any deal would need to prevent the smuggling of weapons from Egypt into the Gaza and “maximize the number of living hostages” released by Hamas — rather than the return of all the hostages.

The statement was criticized by Netanyahu’s domestic political opponents as well as Israeli demonstrators campaigning for a hostage-release deal. On Sunday, opposition leader Yair Lapid condemned Netanyahu’s statement as “provocative messages,” while protesters in Tel Aviv accused the Israeli prime minister of stymying peace talks with the new conditions.




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