Photo Credit: GPO / YouTube screengrab
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Israeli journalists at his office in Jerusalem on Feb. 7, 2024

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has nixed the return of the Israeli delegation to negotiations with Hamas brokered by Egypt, the US and Qatar in Cairo.

The Israeli delegation led by Mossad director David Barnea returned home Tuesday from the talks empty-handed, with Hamas not budging on its demands for the release of all Palestinian Authority prisoners being held in Israel, the withdrawal of all IDF troops from Gaza and more.


Negotiators in Cairo have called on the parties to return to the table for further talks, but on Wednesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “no.”

“Israel did not receive in Cairo any new proposal of Hamas on the release of our hostages,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that Israel will not give in to Hamas’ delusional demands. A change in Hamas’ positions with allow the negotiations to advance,” the PMO added.

“This week we freed two of our hostages in a brilliant military operation. As of now we have freed 112 of our hostages in a combination of strong military pressure and tough negotiations,” Netanyahu said in a separate statement. “This is also the key to freeing more of our hostages: Strong military pressure and very tough negotiations.

“Indeed, I insist that Hamas drop its delusional demands. When they do so, we will be able to move forward.”

Hamas Official: Prepared to Repeat October 7 Operation ‘Until Israel is Annihilated’

Among other demands, Hamas is calling for the release of all incarcerated Palestinian Authority terrorists and other PA prisoners held in Israeli prisons, including those with Israeli blood on their hands and who are serving long sentences — in some cases several life sentences — for murder and other violence.

Hamas also continues to insist on a permanent ceasefire, freedom of movement throughout Gaza for all residents (despite the clear risk due to the many combat zones), return of displaced Gazans to their homes and living places (despite the fact that many of those structures were destroyed in the fighting, withdrawal of the IDF “from all the lands of the Gaza Strip” and opening of the land crossings with Israel, along with “freedom of movement for travelers and the wounded.

“Moreover, what the occupation has presented in terms of equations for prisoner exchange confirms that it is not serious in reaching a prisoner exchange deal,” Hamdan said. “We affirm that Hamas Movement is committed to its stance, has always been keen on reaching an agreement that achieves the cessation of aggression against our people, the withdrawal of the occupation army from the Gaza Strip, relief for our people, the return of residents to their areas, reconstruction, lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip, and accomplishing a prisoner exchange.”

In other words, Hamas wants to be assured of Israel’s surrender and willingness to be available for the next October 7 massacre, and the next, and the next as promised by Hamas political bureau representative Ghazi Hamad.

A video clip of the October 24, 2023 statement, posted and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows Hamad saying to the interviewer on LBC TV (Lebanon) that Hamas is prepared to repeat the so-called October 7 “Al-Aqsa Flood” Operation “time and again until Israel is annihilated.”


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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.