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Netanyahu: US portrayal of Israeli proposal to Hamas ‘not accurate’

By Akiva Van Koningsveld

(JNS) U.S. President Joe Biden’s portrayal of Israel’s proposal to Hamas was inaccurate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.

“I am not willing to stop the war. I will not describe the details of the deal, but what the president of the United States described is not accurate,” Netanyahu said during a closed-door session, the Kan News public broadcaster reported.

“We can stop the fighting for 42 days in order to return hostages, but we will not give up on total victory,” he was said to have told lawmakers.

The premier also said that Biden omitted “other details” during his Friday address on the ongoing talks with the Hamas terrorist group.

“The Iranians and all of our enemies are looking at us and want to see us surrender. Don’t pay attention to the publications—there is a lot of fake news doing the rounds,” Netanyahu added.

According to Kan, the prime minister refused to discuss the number of terrorists who would be freed from Israeli jails as part of a possible deal.

The terms of the proposal laid out by Biden on Friday include a “permanent” end to hostilities and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. president claimed he wants a future “without Hamas in power,” but described a series of steps that did not include the elimination of the terrorist group or its surrender.

In a public statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday afternoon, Netanyahu reiterated that Jerusalem was working “in countless ways to return our hostages.

“I think about them all the time. About their families, about their suffering,” the premier emphasized.

While the government has taken far-reaching steps to bring about the release of the hostages, this was done while maintaining the objectives of the war, “primarily the elimination of Hamas,” Netanyahu said.

“We insist that we complete both things. It’s part of the outline, not something I’m adding now, not something I’m adding because I was pressured in the coalition, it’s something the War Cabinet unanimously agreed on,” he said.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Saturday night threatened to bolt the coalition, saying that they will not accept a deal that leaves Hamas standing in Gaza.

Britain’s Sunday Times quoted a senior adviser to Netanyahu on Saturday as saying that Biden’s Friday address was “a political speech for whatever reasons.”

Ophir Falk stressed that while Jerusalem wasn’t happy with the proposal, it was not rejecting it. “It’s not a good deal but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them,” he said, according to the report.

“It’s a deal we agreed to,” he said, adding, however, that “there are a lot of details to be worked out,” including Israel’s demand that there be no permanent ceasefire declared “until all our objectives are met.”

In an interview with ABC News‘ “This Week” on Sunday, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that the Biden administration expects Israel to agree to the deal if Hamas greenlights it.

“We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal—as was transmitted to them, an Israeli proposal—that Israel would say ‘Yes,’” Kirby said.

Also on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held separate phone calls with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz about the proposed agreement.

“The Secretary commended Israel’s readiness to conclude a deal and affirmed that the onus is on Hamas to accept,” according to a readout of the call with Gallant released by the State Department. Blinken stressed that the terrorist group in Gaza “should take the deal without delay.”

PHOTO: Biden/Netanyahu

CAP: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes President Joe Biden at Ben-Gurion Airport, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.

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