Netanyahu says the US would be ‘doing a hell of a lot more’ after a terror attack as he is grilled over soaring civilian death toll in Gaza

Published February 26, 2024
  • Netanyahu said that Hamas is on ‘another planet’ with the negotiations 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the US would be ‘doing a hell of a lot more’ after a terror attack as he was grilled over the soaring civilian death toll in Gaza.

‘What would America do?’ Netanyahu said on ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday. ‘Would you not be doing what Israel is doing? You’d be doing a hell of a lot more.’

More than four months after the October 7 attacks, the death toll in Gaza is nearing 30,000, after terrorists killed about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, and took around 250 hostages.

Netanyahu said on Sunday that Hamas is on ‘another planet’ with the negotiations, but added that Israel is ‘working on it’ and aims to get the remaining hostages released.

He said seeing the remaining hostages set free is included in his three goals, which he outlined again on Sunday.

He noted that the other goals are to ‘destroy Hamas,’ and to ‘ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel in the future’.

‘Unless we have total victory, we can’t have peace,’ Netanyahu added.

The Biden administration and Netanyahu have disagreed on the best way forward in recent weeks, as the US President calls for Palestinian governance in Gaza and a two-state solution as a long-term plan, which Israel’s government is against.

Last week, Israel rejected ‘unilateral’ recognition of a Palestinian state.

It said that the decision would need to be reached through direct negotiations.

Netanyahu pushed for the vote on Sunday. He said ‘the Israeli people are united as never before,’ while arguing that ‘the policy is right’.

Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has announced new plans to construct more than 3,300 homes in West Bank settlements, following a fatal shooting on cars near the Maale Adumim settlement that saw one Israeli killed and five wounded.

The Biden administration said on Friday that the plan is inconsistent with international law, signaling a return to long-standing US policy on the issue that had been reversed by the previous administration of Donald Trump.

‘They’re also inconsistent with international law. Our administration maintains a firm opposition to settlement expansion, and in our judgement this only weakens, doesn’t strengthen, Israel’s security,’ US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.

He said the United States was ‘disappointed’ in Israel’s announcement of the housing plans, saying they were counterproductive to reaching an enduring peace.



RELATED: Netanyahu: Israel ‘United’ Behind Me, Won’t Give In to ‘Crazy’ Demands

Published February 26, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Sunday that his country is “united” when it comes to the fight against Hamas and that he will not be giving in to the “crazy demands” being made by the country’s enemy in the ongoing hostage negotiations.

“We want to liberate the remaining hostages,” Netanyahu told CBS’ “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan. “We’ve already brought half of them back, and I appreciate the effort, the combined effort of Israel and the United States, to bring back the remaining hostages.”

But still, he said he can’t say if the deal will happen, but “if Hamas goes down from its delusional claims and can bring them down to earth, then we’ll have the progress that we all want.”

President Joe Biden has said the hostage deal underway could bring at least six weeks of calm in Israel and Gaza. Reportedly, it would allow for the release of 30 to 40 hostages in exchange for a few hundred Palestinian prisoners, said Brennan, but Netanyahu told her it makes no sense to discuss the deal publicly.

“Hamas started out with just crazy demands,” said Netanyahu. “It’s too soon to say if they’ve abandoned them, but if they do abandon them and get into what you call the ballpark, they’re not even in the city. They’re in another planet. But if they come down to a reasonable situation, then yes, we’ll have a hostage deal. I hope so.”

There were massive protests throughout Israel this weekend, but Netanyahu insisted that the people are “united as never before.”

“Last week, they voted 99 to 9 in the Knesset for my proposal that says that we have to do two things: We have to win the war, have total victory, but also not have an international dictate of a Palestinian state on it shoved down our throats that would endanger Israel,” he said. “People are overwhelmingly united on this. When was the last time we had 99 votes in the Knesset … I’ll tell you, 30 years ago.”

And, Netanyahu insisted that “we can’t compromise with total victory, because I’ll tell you, we can’t win the peace if we don’t win the war, and we will win this war.”

Meanwhile, the prime minister said that the return of living hostages is necessary for him to declare victory in the war.

“I’ve set three war goals,” he said. “The first is to release the hostages. The second is to destroy Hamas. And the third is to ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel in the future. And obviously, the three are intertwined.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu said victory is “within reach” but won’t happen until Hamas is eliminated, and that means for Israel to start its Rafah operation.



RELATED: Netanyahu Says It Is Unclear If Hostage Deal Will Emerge

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Dec. 24, 2023. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Published February 25, 2024

WASHINGTON—Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday said it was not clear yet whether a hostage deal would materialize from ongoing talks, declining to discuss specifics but saying the Islamist terrorist group Hamas needed to “come down to a reasonable situation.”

Mr. Netanyahu, speaking in an interview with CBS News, added he was meeting with staff later on Sunday to review a dual military plan that included the evacuation of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and an operation to destroy remaining Hamas battalions.

“If we have a deal, it will be delayed somewhat, but it will happen. If we don’t have a deal, we’ll do it anyway,” he told CBS.



RELATED: Israel, Hamas skirmish in Gaza as truce efforts pick up pace

Almost 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, said Gaza medical officials.

This picture taken from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment on Khan Younis on Feb 22, 2024. (Photo: AFP/Saib Khatib)
Published February 25, 2024

JERUSALEM: Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen clashed throughout the Gaza Strip over the weekend, as mediators picked up the pace of talks over a possible ceasefire to free hostages held by Hamas and bring a measure of Ramadan respite to the battered enclave.

Prospects for securing any truce looked uncertain, however, with Israel saying it was, in parallel, planning to expand its sweep to destroy Hamas, while the militant group stood firm on its demand for a permanent end to the nearly five-month-old war.

Residents said Israeli forces shelled several areas of the enclave as tanks rolled into Beit Lahiya and soldiers and gunmen waged running battles in the Zeitoun sector of Gaza City – both in the north, which had been conquered early in the offensive.

Medics said on Sunday (Feb 25) that at least 86 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes since Saturday. Israel’s military said two soldiers died in fighting in south Gaza and that its forces killed or captured Palestinian gunmen in Zeitoun and elsewhere.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his war Cabinet for a briefing late on Saturday by intelligence chiefs who returned from a meeting with Qatari, Egyptian and US mediators in Paris about a possible second Gaza ceasefire.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN’s State of the Union that negotiators for the United States, Egypt, Qatar and Israel “came to an understanding” on the basic contours of a hostage deal during talks in Paris.

The deal is still under negotiation, said Sullivan, who added there will have to be indirect discussions by Qatar and Egypt with Hamas.

Netanyahu told CBS’ Face the Nation it was not clear yet whether a hostage deal would materialise from the talks, declining to discuss specifics but saying Hamas needed to make more reasonable demands.





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