Netanyahu Stalls Gaza Cease-Fire

( – Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, said on Sunday, February 25th, there is no deal, as of yet, for a cease-fire on Gaza. Netanyahu told CBS that he wants the cease-fire and to retrieve hostages. There are ongoing talks between Qatar, Israel, Egypt, and the U.S. about the potential of a cease-fire, but no definite plans have been made. There is an unofficial deadline for negotiations to be complete by the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 10th, during which fighting is frowned upon.

The proposed deal would include the release of hostages being held in Gaza in return for 300 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel. The hostages on both sides consist of mostly women, children, and the elderly. Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security advisor says that “work is underway” for indirect discussions between nations regarding the release of hostages. A proposed cease-fire of six weeks would allow not only the hostage exchange but also hundreds of truckloads of greatly needed supplies to be brought into Gaza each day.

Netanyahu also told CBS that a military operation in Rafah to eliminate the remaining Hamas battalions is “inevitable” and will occur with or without a cease-fire agreement.

Netanyahu said in a statement to ABC News that his political campaign has spurned pressure to end the war “before its time” and intends to continue this campaign to “complete victory” over Hamas. Therefore, according to an Israeli political source, the Prime Minister was “surprised” to hear that U.S. President Joe Biden remarked that he was hopeful for a cease-fire agreement to be in place by “next Monday,” meaning March 4th. Matthew Miller, a State Department spokesperson, insists Biden is optimistic due to an agreement about the “broad outlines” of a deal. Miller also stated that “significant progress” has been made, but ultimately Hamas does have a great deal of control concerning any cease-fire agreement.

Netanyahu also stated that the Harvard-Harris survey “gives us two more strength” to push for complete victory, since the survey indicates more than 80% of American people support Israel.

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