Photo Credit: Koby Gideon (GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Visits the Air Force Operations Center at the Kirya in Tel Aviv, July 4, 2024.

Two officials who were present Sunday night at the discussion held in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office regarding the emerging hostage deal said that the heads of the security establishment “were shocked by the PM’s office’s announcement” regarding the conditions set by Netanyahu to advance the negotiations for the return of the hostages, Reshet Bet Radio reported Monday morning.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued this statement on Sunday night:

The Prime Minister’s steadfast position against the attempt to halt IDF action in Rafah is what has led Hamas to enter negotiations.
The Prime Minister is continuing to insist on the principles that have already been agreed to by Israel:
1. Any deal will allow Israel to resume fighting until all of the objectives of the war have been achieved.
2. There will be no smuggling of weapons to Hamas from Egypt to the Gaza border.
3. There will be no return of thousands of armed terrorists to the northern Gaza Strip.
4. Israel will maximize the number of living hostages who will be released from Hamas captivity.
The plan that has been agreed to by Israel and which has been welcomed by President Biden will allow Israel to return hostages without infringing on the other objectives of the war.

According to Reshet Bet, citing the two officials, some of those present at the discussion criticized the conduct of the prime minister, who set the conditions even before his scheduled meeting with them.

“Negotiations should be conducted inside the room – and not in announcements to the media, certainly not just before the start of a meeting that will determine the continuation of the negotiations,” the sources familiar with the discussion stated.

Naturally, those sources had nothing to say about months upon months of leaked statements to the media that depict Netanyahu as running the war to serve his political career.

And, predictably, those sources in the security establishment indeed raised their “concern” that Netanyahu would refrain from promoting the new hostage deal due to his fear of the dissolution of the government, as his two right-wing partners would abandon him.

Netanyahu for his part announced on Sunday that if the conditions he set were accepted – Israel would agree to the deal.

On Wednesday, the CIA and Mossad chiefs will meet the Egyptian Intelligence chief and the Qatari PM in Doha.

Army Radio reported that the Egyptians had told Mossad head David Barnea that within days of the ceasefire with Hamas, Egypt would collaborate with the US on erecting an underground barrier to prevent smuggling to Gaza.

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