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Israel's total victory in Gaza already close, Netanyahu says

Israel's total victory in Gaza already close, Netanyahu says Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Israel rejects Hamas's proposal for a ceasefire to secure the return of hostages, because Israel's total victory in Gaza is already close, according to a statement of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu once again promised to destroy the militant movement, stating that Israel has no alternative but to crush Hamas.

"The day after is the day after Hamas. All of Hamas," he said at a press conference, insisting that total victory over Hamas was the only solution to the Gaza war.

Earlier, Hamas had proposed a ceasefire in Gaza for four and a half months, during which all hostages would be released, Israel would withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip, and an agreement to end the war would be reached.

What else do Hamas militants want

Previously, Israel stated that it would not withdraw its forces from Gaza or end the war until Hamas was destroyed.

However, sources reported that Hamas was taking a new approach to its longstanding demand to end the war, now presenting it as an issue to be resolved in future negotiations rather than as a condition for a ceasefire.

A source close to the negotiations reported that Hamas' counterproposal does not initially require guarantees of a permanent ceasefire, but that the end of the war must be agreed upon before the last hostages are released.

Ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar announced on February 1 that Hamas had given its preliminary consent to a ceasefire and an agreement on the release of hostages. The day before, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer discussed an agreement that would allow for the release of 136 hostages.

According to reports, the agreement involves the release of Hamas civilian hostages captured on October 7, 2023, followed by IDF soldiers and the return of the bodies of deceased hostages.

It is expected that Israel will also release Palestinian prisoners who are security service employees, as in the first agreement. However, this time, it is expected that their number will be greater and will include terrorists "with blood on their hands." The ceasefire will last much longer than the previous one-week pause.

Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has proposed his own long-term ceasefire and peace plan. It includes a proposal for Hamas leaders, including Yahya Sinwar, to leave the Gaza Strip for another country.

It should be noted that in November, as a result of negotiations on hostage exchange, Hamas militants released about 120 people, and Israel released a group of Palestinian prisoners. However, later the parties resumed active hostilities in the region.

Then the Israeli Defense Forces launched a new major offensive in the western part of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The operation is accompanied by large-scale military actions.