Netanyahu rejects ceasefire proposal – The Washington Post

Netanyahu rejects ceasefire proposal – The Washington Post

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to reject the latest ceasefire proposal backed by President Biden, angering the families of Israeli hostages who accused him of failing to adhere to a key element of the plan: the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops.

In a television interview on Sunday evening, Netanyahu said he was open to some aspects of a hostage exchange, but not to the permanent ceasefire that Biden presented last month as part of what he called an “Israeli deal.”

“The intense phase of the war will end very soon,” Netanyahu said. “But that does not mean that the war will be over.” He added: “I am ready to make a partial deal that will bring some of the people back to us. That is no secret. But we are determined to continue the war after the ceasefire.”

Netanyahu’s comments came as Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was visiting Washington, where he was scheduled to meet with U.S. officials to describe a new phase of the war in Gaza and escalating tensions in the north with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. In a meeting with U.S. special envoy Amos Hochstein on Monday, Gallant said “Phase C” of the war would have implications on all fronts for Israel, according to a statement from Gallant’s office.

The Hostages Families Forum condemned Netanyahu’s comments on Monday, saying that ending the conflict in Gaza “without the release of the hostages would be an unprecedented national failure and a departure from the aims of the war.”

The group said Netanyahu’s plan “abandons” the 120 hostages and “violates the state’s moral obligation to its citizens.” It said “the responsibility and duty to release all hostages lies with the prime minister.”

There are increasing confrontations between the hostages’ families and Netanyahu and right-wing members of his cabinet over the question of whether an agreement regarding the hostages or the continuation of the fight to destroy Hamas is a priority.

In a statement shared on Telegram on Monday, Hamas condemned Netanyahu’s comments and said his goal of a “partial agreement” would result in the war continuing after the prisoners are freed – which clearly goes against Biden’s proposal.

Hamas said its “insistence that any agreement must include a clear confirmation of a permanent ceasefire and a complete withdrawal from Gaza” was a necessary step. While Hamas said it viewed the proposal “positively,” it also added conditions that the United States called unacceptable.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also expressed disappointment at Netanyahu’s comments and their impact on talks to end the conflict.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent statement confirms that this plan will unfortunately not be implemented,” he said in Luxembourg before a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

“I am worried, I am more worried, every day the crises are spreading,” he added, expressing fears that border conflicts between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah could escalate into open war. “The risk that this war will affect and spread to southern Lebanon is also growing every day.”

Europe’s concerns about an escalation of the war were underlined when German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said at the same event that it was “absolutely important” that a ceasefire be reached in Gaza. She called on Hamas to “finally agree” to a deal. Baerbock, who described the situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border as “more than worrying”, said she would travel to the Middle East and that “further escalation would be a catastrophe for all people in the region”.

The aid organization Save the Children also joined the calls for an end to the Gaza war and said on Monday that a ceasefire was “urgently” needed.

More than 20,000 children are estimated to be missing in Gaza, according to a report released by the organization on Monday. The report said the children are believed to be “lost, disappeared, detained, buried under rubble or in mass graves.”

At least 17,000 children are unaccompanied and separated from their families, the report said. The number has risen further following the Israeli attack on Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, which has “increased the burden” on families and communities within the enclave.

Current conditions in Gaza make it “almost impossible” to collect and verify information, the report said, but estimates suggest that around 4,000 children are missing under the rubble and an unknown number are in mass graves.

Other children have become victims of “disappearances,” the report says. An unknown number of them were allegedly arrested and taken out of the Gaza Strip without their relatives knowing where they are currently.

What else you should know

The World Health Organization said it helped transport five children in need of medical treatment – four cancer patients and one patient with second-degree burns – from Al-Ahli Hospital to Nasser Medical Complex. They will be treated at this hospital in Khan Younis until they can leave Gaza, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet along with a video showing the young patients boarding an ambulance. More than 10,000 people need to be medically evacuated outside Gaza, he said.

Violent clashes broke out in Los Angeles on Sunday as pro-Palestinian protesters attempted to block access to a synagogue. in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, said Mayor Karen Bass. In a social media post, she called the violence “abhorrent.” She has ordered additional police patrols in the area and at other places of worship in the city. “I want to make it clear that Los Angeles will not be a haven for anti-Semitism and violence,” she wrote.

The British Labour Party said it would comply with any arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Netanyahu. if the British opposition party wins the July 4 election. Opposition Foreign Minister David Lammy made the remark in an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday. Biden had previously described the ICC’s arrest warrant requests as “outrageous.”

Lebanese officials brought journalists and ambassadors to Beirut’s international airport to refute a report that Hezbollah had weapons depots there. During the two-hour drive to Rafiq al-Hariri International Airport, Public Works Minister Ali Hamiya said Lebanon was considering legal action against the British newspaper Telegraph over the report. The newspaper published an article over the weekend – unnamed and attributed to anonymous “whistleblowers” – saying Hezbollah had stored weapons at the airport, sparking panic in Lebanon that the airport could be a target for Israeli attack.

Since the war began, at least 37,598 people have been killed and 86,032 injured in Gaza. said the Gaza Health Ministry. It makes no distinction between civilians and fighters, but says the majority of the dead are women and children. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in the October 7 Hamas attack, including more than 300 soldiers, and it says 313 soldiers have been killed since military operations began in Gaza.

Susannah George contributed to this report.