Netanyahu affirms Israel's commitment to ongoing conflict with Hamas, rejects ceasefire speculations

Despite Hamas's insistence on a total cessation of hostilities, Israel, according to sources, has firmly rejected this demand

Families have urged Netanyahu to lead efforts to free hostages and called for an international conference involving Qatar, Egypt, Israel, and the US.  (photo: DW)
Families have urged Netanyahu to lead efforts to free hostages and called for an international conference involving Qatar, Egypt, Israel, and the US. (photo: DW)
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IANS

In a resolute statement on Wednesday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quashed speculations surrounding the termination of the ongoing war with Hamas, asserting that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would maintain a presence in Gaza.

Dismissing media reports, Netanyahu clarified that rumors of a ceasefire were "untrue," emphasizing Israel's unwavering commitment to eliminating Hamas and ensuring Gaza poses no threat to the nation.

Addressing the ongoing mediatory talks involving Qatar, Egypt, and the US, Netanyahu acknowledged negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. However, he emphasised that Israel was not considering a complete cessation of hostilities, stating, "We are working on another outline for the release of hostages, and that won't be at any cost."

Reports suggest active mediation efforts are underway, with a potential month-long ceasefire in discussion. Sources within the Israel Defense Ministry indicate a phased release of hostages, beginning with the elderly, sick, and women. The subsequent stages would include the release of women IDF soldiers and, ultimately, all hostages, including male soldiers.

Despite Hamas's insistence on a total cessation of hostilities, Israel, according to sources, has firmly rejected this demand. Prime Minister Netanyahu conveyed Israel's dissatisfaction with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in Near East (UNRWA), describing it as "totally infiltrated" by Hamas.

During a meeting with UN ambassadors in Jerusalem, Netanyahu urged the replacement of UNRWA by another aid agency, citing evidence that 12 UNRWA staff members directly participated in the October 7 attack by Hamas, resulting in 1,200 deaths and 253 hostages.

Israel's report to the UN outlined that among the implicated staff, seven were UNRWA teachers, two were educational consultants, and others held administrative roles. Netanyahu called for an independent investigation into these allegations, expressing regret that UNRWA, intended to be an objective and constructive aid provider, is deemed unsuitable for assistance in Gaza.

The dossier presented by Israel revealed specific accusations against UNRWA staff, including an elementary school teacher allegedly serving as a Hamas commander and a social worker accused of involvement in the kidnapping of a soldier's body during the October 7 massacre. The Prime Minister emphasized the urgent need for an impartial body to provide aid in Gaza, asserting that UNRWA does not fulfill this role.

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