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Isolated Netanyahu says ‘nein’ to Hamas peace deal

Sharks circle as Bibi sticks to guns and genocide

Alameen Templeton

Israel’s isolated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected Hamas’s ceasefire proposal, instead holding out for “final victory” within months.

His rebuttal has sparked anger on the other side of the Atlantic, where US officials are reportedly preparing for Netanyahu’s replacement.

Netanyahu said talks with Hamas were “not going anywhere” and described their terms as “bizarre”.

“There is no other solution but a complete and final victory,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

“If Hamas will survive in Gaza, it’s only a question of time until the next massacre.”

His response was seen as a categorical rebuke, frustrating his main ally, the US, which is under pressure to end the Gaza genocide.

A sign of rising establishment antipathy towards Netanyahu came shortly after, when former US state secretary Hillary Clinton told MSNBC Netanyahu “absolutely needs to go”.

“Netanyahu should go. He is not a trustworthy leader. It was on his watch that the [October 7] attack happened.

“He needs to go, and if he’s an obstacle to a ceasefire, if he’s an obstacle to exploring what’s to be done the day after, he absolutely needs to go.”

Netanyahu’s comments are seen as a snub to US efforts to reach a deal that foreign secretary Antony Blinken has described as “the best path forward”.

That is interpreted as establishment code calling for all on his side to fall in line, something Netanyahu is refusing to do.

Blinken said there were “some clear non-starters” in Hamas’ counter-proposal, but added is “it creates space for an agreement to be reached”.

Netanyahu’s stance also highlighted the widening gulf between the US and Israel’s plans for Gaza’s future.

Netanyahu wants to continue controlling every aspect of Gazans’ lives, with overall security control, and a Gaza run by local bodies “cleansed” of Hamas or any other group.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri dismissed Netanyahu’s remarks as “a form of political bravado” that reveal his true intentions of genocide.

An Egyptian official said talks were still expected to go ahead today (Thursday) in Cairo.

Hamas put forward its proposal on Tuesday and listed these terms:

  • Phase one: A 45-day pause in fighting during which all Israeli women hostages, males under 19, the elderly and sick would be exchanged for Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails. Israeli forces would withdraw from populated areas of Gaza, and the reconstruction of hospitals and refugee camps would begin.
  • Phase two: Remaining male Israeli hostages would be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners and Israeli forces leave Gaza completely.
  • Phase three: Both sides would exchange remains and bodies.

The proposal would also see deliveries of 500 trucks of food and other aid to Gaza each day. By the end of the 135-day pause in fighting, Hamas said negotiations to end the war would have concluded.

Netanyahu also said Israeli forces are preparing attack the southern Gaza city of Rafah – where tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled.

Attacking Rafah would “exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned.

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