Netanyahu, Biden discuss Hamas hostage-release proposal

Netanyahu, Biden discuss Hamas hostage-release proposal

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening informed U.S. President Joe Biden of his decision to dispatch a delegation to continue negotiations to free 120 hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The prime minister “reiterated the principles that Israel is committed to, especially its commitment to end the war only after all of its goals have been achieved,” according to an Israeli readout of the call.

Netanyahu has defined his government’s war goals as returning all of the hostages, eliminating Hamas’s military and governing capabilities and ensuring that Gaza will never again constitute a threat.

On Wednesday, Hamas presented proposed changes to the hostages-for-ceasefire framework outlined by Biden in May.

Jerusalem had immediately accepted the original Biden proposal, which Netanyahu stressed does not call for a permanent end to the war sparked by Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of some 1,200 people.

Hamas rejected the Biden proposal, demanding a “permanent” end to the conflict and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

During their call Thursday, Biden “welcomed [Netanyahu’s] decision to authorize his negotiators to engage with U.S., Qatari and Egyptian mediators in an effort to close out the deal,” per a White House readout.

Biden also “reaffirmed his ironclad commitment to Israel’s security including in the face of threats from Iranian-backed terrorist groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah.”

Finally, Netanyahu congratulated Biden and the American people on their Independence Day.

“Without the U.S. there would be no freedom in the world,” the prime minister said, while Biden noted that “without Israel there would be no security for Jews in the world,” according to the Israeli statement.

Source: JNS