Netanyahu: Gaza Ceasefire Must Allow Israel to Resume Fighting

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that any ceasefire agreement in Gaza must allow Israel to resume fighting until all its war objectives are met.

Netanyahu’s remarks come after Hamas agreed to a US proposal for a phased ceasefire, dropping a key demand that Israel commit to a permanent ceasefire before signing the deal, according to a Reuters source.

Hamas aims to end hostilities through talks during the first six-week phase of the deal, which seeks to resolve the conflict in Gaza, the outlet reported.

However, the Palestinian militant group wants written guarantees from international mediators that Israel will continue to negotiate a permanent ceasefire once the first phase of the deal takes effect. The hostage issue will also be addressed after the first phase is implemented.

Hamas officials have indicated they are awaiting Israel’s response to the latest proposal. Netanyahu, however, asserted on Sunday that any deal must “allow Israel to go back to fighting until all the goals of the war are achieved.”

According to media reports, Netanyahu was scheduled to hold consultations on the next steps, but his latest statement has hampered the deal’s progress.

“The plan that has been agreed-to by Israel and which has been welcomed by President Biden will allow Israel to return hostages without infringing on the other objectives of the war,” Netanyahu insisted.

Talks facilitated by Qatar, Egypt, and the US have so far failed to secure a truce in Gaza or the release of hostages since a weeklong ceasefire in November that resulted in the freeing of 105 hostages from Gaza and 240 Palestinian prisoners.

Israel launched its operation in Gaza in response to a cross-border incursion by Hamas last October in which at least 1,200 people were killed and 250 taken hostage. Approximately 116 captives are believed to remain in Gaza.

Over 38,000 people have been killed so far and more than 87,000 others have been wounded in Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave, according to Gaza’s health ministry.