Home west asia Netanyahu Indifferent To Hostages, Undermined Efforts To Release Them, Say Negotiators

Netanyahu Indifferent To Hostages, Undermined Efforts To Release Them, Say Negotiators

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indifferent to the plight of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas? Did he even undermine efforts to strike a deal with Hamas that would have ensured their release?

The Times of Israel, quoted two negotiators identified only as A and D, as saying that there was an atmosphere of “cold indifference” to the plight of the hostages “from the top”, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not willing to entertain new ideas to secure their release.

The paper quoted negotiator A as saying, “Since December, definitely since January, it has become clear to everyone that we are not negotiating.”

D added that “I can’t say without Netanyahu there would have been a deal but I can say that without Netanyahu, the chances of making a deal would be better.”

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A said they had been forced to make impossible demands, such as a list of living hostages from Hamas, which the terrorist group refused to give. “When that demand came up, it wasn’t realistic to expect we would get it.”

D described the demand as ridiculous given that the Israelis “already had the list on our own. Why should we get it from Hamas?”
They said the political leadership appeared disconnected from the fate of the hostages and that when briefing the politicians, the negotiators would try and include pictures and stories of the hostages to make their fate real to them.

“I cannot say for sure who will be alive by the time there is a deal or what will be left of them. What I can say is that whatever deal is made, could have been made two months ago,” A said.

Chances of finding the hostages alive are expected to worsen if Israel launches a ground offensive on Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city where the majority of the strip’s residents are now living. A said he expects to find “dead” hostages if the Israelis go in.