Netanyahu on cease-fire talks: ‘Conditions for ending the war have not changed’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that conditions for a cease-fire in its war against Hamas, “have not changed,” despite President Biden announcing that an end to the fighting could be in sight.

“Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: The destruction of Hamas military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Netanyahu added that Israel will “continue to insist these conditions are met before a permanent cease-fire is put in place,” calling any plans otherwise a “non-starter.”

His latest comments come just a day after Biden delivered remarks Friday afternoon, announcing the terms of a proposal from Israel that includes a three-part road map toward ending fighting and the release of the remaining hostages in Gaza.

“After intensive diplomacy carried out by my team, my many conversations with leaders of Israel, Qatar and Egypt, and other Middle Eastern countries, Israel has offered a comprehensive new proposal,” Biden said. “It’s a road map to an enduring cease-fire and the release of all hostages.”

The proposal was sent to Hamas through Qatar, but Biden said the group had not yet formally accepted the deal.

Each of the three phases would be about 42 days long. Phase one, during the six-week pause in fighting, would distribute relief to the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Phase two would involve the release of the remaining hostages. Phase three would involve an extensive three-to-five year reconstruction plan for Gaza backed by the U.S. and international community.

Biden acknowledged that many Israelis will not be happy with the deal but urged them to get behind the plan “despite whatever pressure comes.”

The White House said earlier this week that the Israeli strike that caught fire and killed dozens of civilians did not cross a red line that would have led to a shift in policy. Still, Biden urged Israel to “take a step back” and accept the deal.

While on a bike ride in Delaware Saturday, Biden did not answer reporters’ questions about Netanyahu’s latest comments, per the White House pool report.

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