On Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a press conference on the topic of negotiations with Hamas, and the whole country waited with baited breath to see what the head of government would say after receiving Hamas's response. Shortly before the press conference, it became known that Israel's official reaction to Hamas' demands had not yet been formulated - the issue would be brought up for discussion by the military cabinet only tomorrow.
Gantz's entourage gave journalists a sarcastic comment: “We expect that a response to the proposals will not be given before the discussion.” Translated into simple language: everything that Netanyahu said today are only political declarations, and not an expression of the position of the State of Israel.
The prime minister gave reporters a bombshell headline: “Captulation to Hamas will not lead to the release of the hostages, but will lead to more massacres.” This is not a rejection of Hamas’s conditions, as an inexperienced audience might have decided, but only a political slogan - just like those exorbitant “demands” that Hamas representatives leaked to the media while their negotiators were composing a “positive” answer that would allow negotiations to continue without recognizing defeats in the war.
Judging by the over-optimistic assessments of the results of the military operation, which were heard in Netanyahu’s speech, the war is coming to an end. The Prime Minister said victory was “within reach” and was “a matter of months, not years,” as he told Secretary of State Blinken.
The head of government was asked what he meant by “complete victory,” which, according to him, is already very close. There was no clear answer: Netanyahu said that “this includes the destruction of the military force of Hamas”, “without the destruction of the military force you cannot destroy the civil power”, and “the fact that Hamas is again strengthening in the north is wrong”, because “their whole chain command is like a broken glass, and now we are removing the fragments through raids.”
Netanyahu also avoided answering the question whether Israel would agree to release the kidnapped terrorists “with blood on their hands” in exchange. He said that, “judging by Hamas’s response,” the matter has not yet reached the stage of exchange bargaining.
The Prime Minister denied that he had ordered an increase in the volume of humanitarian aid into Gaza, and called reports on this topic “fake,” but stressed that humanitarian assistance is necessary, “if there is a humanitarian catastrophe, we will not be able to continue the war.”
Regarding the post-war fate of Gaza, Netanyahu said that he held two meetings of the National Security Headquarters on this topic and a consensus was reached on two points: it is necessary to destroy Hamas and demilitarize Gaza. The Prime Minister asked to stop further “empty talk” on this topic.
Hamas responded to Netanyahu's press conference: "His words show that he intends to continue the regional conflict."