Israel’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu said no to Hamas’s offer to stop fighting, and he believes Israel can win the war in Gaza in a few months.
He was talking after Hamas made a list of things they want in response to a ceasefire plan supported by Israel.
Mr Netanyahu said that talks with the group were not making any progress and he thought their terms were strange.
Negotiations are still happening to try to come to an agreement.
Mr Netanyahu said at a news conference on Wednesday that the only solution is to win completely and finally.
“If Hamas stays in Gaza, it’s just a matter of time before another attack happens. ”
Israel was supposed to disagree with Hamas’s counter-offer, but this response is a strong rejection, and Israeli officials clearly see Hamas’s attempt to end the war on its own terms as completely unacceptable.
Hamas leader Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters that Mr. Netanyahu’s comments are just showing off and means he wants to keep fighting in the area.
An Egyptian official told the media that there will be a new meeting on Thursday in Cairo, with Egypt and Qatar helping to make the agreement.
Egypt asked everyone to be flexible and reach a peaceful agreement, the source explained.
Mr Netanyahu said no to a plan that he called “delusional,” but Qatar said that Hamas’s response was good. There are very different opinions on the matter.
Hamas made their own offer for ending the fighting on Tuesday.
The Hamas document had a list of terms in it.
First step: For 45 days, there would be a stop in fighting. During this time, Israeli women hostages, boys under 19, old and sick people would be traded for Palestinian women and children in Israeli jails. Israeli soldiers will leave the busy parts of Gaza, and they will start fixing hospitals and places for people who had to leave their homes.
Step two: the rest of the male Israeli hostages will be traded for Palestinian prisoners and Israeli troops will leave Gaza entirely.
Step three: Both groups will give back the dead bodies and remains to each other.
The new agreement would also mean more food and other supplies being sent to Gaza. Hamas said that they would finish negotiating to end the war after 135 days of no fighting.
Last year on 7 October, around 1,300 people died in the attacks by Hamas in southern Israel.
Israel started a war and as a result, over 27,700 Palestinians were killed and at least 65,000 were injured, according to the health ministry run by Hamas.
Israeli soldiers are going into Rafah.
Mr Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israeli soldiers have been told to get ready to go into the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Many Palestinians have left Rafah to get away from the fighting.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that if the conflict spreads to Rafah, it will make the terrible humanitarian situation in the city much worse.
“We are scared of the attack on Rafah,” said a person who had to leave their home at the Rafah Crossing, close to the border with Egypt, when speaking to the media.
We are scared when we sleep and when we sit down. There is no food and the weather is cold.
The Israeli leader’s words are a setback for the US’s efforts to make a deal. Even though the top US diplomat thinks it’s the best way to go, there is still a lot of work to do.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Mr Blinken said that Hamas had some unacceptable ideas in their counter-proposal. However, he also said: “We believe it gives room for a deal to be made, and we will keep working hard until we reach it. ”
Sharone Lifshitz’s parents were taken to Gaza after being kidnapped in southern Israel on October 7th. She told the BBC that rejecting Hamas’ ceasefire terms could mean more hostages might be killed.
Ms Lifshitz’s 85-year-old mother, Yocheved, was let go, but her father, Oded, is still being held captive.
“My father is 83 years old, he’s weak, and he won’t live much longer,” she said.
“I don’t know if the prime minister is considering him, or if he expects him to come back in a coffin. ”
Mr Netanyahu’s position also shows that the US and Israel have very different ideas about what should happen in Gaza in the future.
He wants Israel to be in charge of security, while local groups in Gaza run things without being connected to Hamas or any other group.
Washington wants to see a Palestinian state in the future.
The important question now is if we can save the talks to get more prisoners released and help the people in Gaza by bringing in more aid.