Israel will not accept US President Joe Biden’s call for a three-day pause in fighting with the Hamas movement. Israeli officials say there will be no truce, even a temporary one, until the hostages are released. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu already rejected Biden’s challenge on Tuesday. “We will continue until victory and until the hostages return home,” Israeli Defense Minister Joav Gallant said on Tuesday.
“For me, the humanitarian pause means primarily the return of prisoners,” Gallant said during Tuesday’s press conference. “Without the return of the hostages, there will be no humanitarian pauses,” he also said, according to The Times of Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed himself in the same way when he stated at a press conference: “I repeat and make it clear to our enemies and our friends: there will be no truce without the return of our abductees.”
US President Joe Biden called for a three-day break in Israel during a phone call with Netanyahu on Monday. He has rejected calls for a truce several times before. According to Axios diplomatic sources, Netanyahu does not trust Hamas, mainly because of an incident in 2014 when Hamas attacked a group of Israeli soldiers during a humanitarian pause in fighting with Israel, killing several and kidnapping one. Thus, he intends to proceed to a truce only after the release of the Israeli hostages.
Islamists from the Hamas movement kidnapped at least 240 people in the Gaza Strip in the attack on Israel on October 7, of which Hamas holds up to 180, 40 Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the rest another radical organization in the Gaza Strip. In a statement today, Hamas claimed it was ready to release the 12 foreign hostages but could not because of Israeli shelling.
The United States, and for example Britain, have been declaring for several weeks that Hamas would benefit from a general ceasefire in the current situation, which would give it time to rearm. Some Western states are talking about limited “humanitarian pauses” as a possible solution to the current situation, in which hundreds of Palestinian civilians are dying every day and most of the Israeli and foreign hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip.