Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization working with it are conditioning the further release of Israeli hostages on Israel abandoning the war and accepting defeat.
On Saturday evening, the terrorist groups stated that they would not agree to release more Israeli hostages after the about 110 Hamas released during a seven-day ceasefire in hostilities with Israel. The only way they would agree to more release is if Israel accepts defeat and completely ceases fire.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad Demand Total Ceasefire Before Any Hostage Release They want Israel to accept defeat for release of hostages. Will never happen https://t.co/qYC0apGRaa
— maitri (@clarissamehler) December 17, 2023
“Hamas emphasizes that its position is that there will be no negotiations for a prisoner release deal until the aggression against our people ceases completely. Hamas announced this position to all mediators,” Hamas reportedly said in a statement.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad also weighed in, saying they “are ready for a prisoner exchange deal only after a ceasefire.”
The organizations’ positions came a day after Israeli Defense Forces accidentally killed three Israeli hostages in Gaza on Friday.
While the incident has led to a blowback for Israel and increased calls for a ceasefire, Israel is determined to continue the war.
During a press conference on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the angered and grieving nation that stopping the war is not an option until its mission of securing its hostages and destroying Hamas is complete.
While he expressed sorrow over the tragedy, he emphasized the need to press on.
“We will not give up our military and national goal to return all of our hostages home, in peace. In all the deep pain, I wish to emphasize: the military pressure is what brings both the return of the hostages, and victory over our enemies,” he stated.
He added, “I know that the pain that floods your hearts will never be healed. But there is comfort — there is one comfort: to promise that our heroes have not fallen in vain, to promise that we will continue to fight until the achievement of complete victory.”
The Israeli leader went on to encourage citizens with the assurance that victory is certain even though it might take time.
In his words, “I want to tell you, citizens of Israel, that victory will take time. But we are determined to continue until the end — despite the enormous pain, despite the grief that fills all of our hearts, despite international pressures. We are continuing to the end. Nothing will stop us, until we reach victory. Together we will fight, and with God’s help, together we will win.”