Photo Credit: GPO / Omer Miron
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The hostage deal that US President Joe Biden meticulously described Friday in his remarks from the White House is apparently not the same agreement proposed by the government of Israel in its talks with Hamas, brokered by the US, Egypt and Qatar.

Speaking during a meeting of the security cabinet on Monday, and then in a brief video statement to Israelis later in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly emphasized that Israel will not end the war without returning the hostages, and not before dismantling the terror group’s ability to wage war and govern.


Netanyahu told ministers in the security cabinet meeting that Biden had left out “important details” in his remarks, saying there were “gaps” between Israel’s proposal and that described by the president.

He added that a permanent ceasefire is not relevant at this point.

“President Biden didn’t mention an important detail: that in phase two, Israel did not agree to end the war, but rather only to “discuss” ending it. What does that mean, to ‘discuss’? We discuss only on our terms,” Netanyahu said.

“Despite what President Biden said, the number of hostages to be released in the first phase has not yet been agreed upon,” he emphasized. “There are many details in the deal, and the war will not end without us achieving all of our objectives,” Netanyahu emphasized.

“We will not give up on absolute victory. We can pause the war for 42 days (the six-week period referred to by the president) for the purpose of returning the hostages. We cannot stop the war,” he said. “The Iranians and all our enemies are watching us; they want to see if we surrender.

“Do not address the reports,” he told the ministers. “There are a lot of fake reports going around. I won’t detail the specifics of the deal here – but what the US president described is not accurate. There are more details that have not been revealed,” he added. “We are determined to both dismantle Hamas and return the hostages.”

In his video message released late in the day, Netanyahu said, “We’re working in countless ways to return the hostages.

“I think about our hostages all the time,” he said. “I think about their families, about their suffering. We have come a long way towards getting them back during this operation, while maintaining our focus on the goals of the war, including the elimination of Hamas.

“We are firm on that, and we will achieve that goal as well. It’s not something I am adding now, and it’s not a focus because I am being pressured by the coalition. This is something we agreed upon in the cabinet. We are unanimous on this war,” Netanyahu emphasized.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.