Dr Mike Evans

Netanyahu meets with families of hostages as negotiations continue

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara convened with hostage families’ representatives today at the Kirya in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu assured the families of his unwavering commitment to securing the safe return of all hostages, emphasizing inclusivity even in the face of potential multi-stage operations, encompassing both casualties and captives.

“We are committed to returning everyone. Even if we go to a multi-stage campaign, this includes everyone, both the casualties and the hostages,” the prime minister stated. “I would be happy if I could be the bearer of good news for you today. As of this moment, there has been no real response from Hamas. They are still clinging to unacceptable demands.”

Addressing the families, Netanyahu expressed regret at the lack of substantive response from Hamas, noting their persistence in maintaining untenable demands. He attributed Hamas’ stance to their agenda of incitement during Ramadan, highlighting efforts to pressure the group into cooperation.

Netanyahu acknowledged the collaborative efforts between his government, the families, and international partners, particularly citing increasing Qatari pressure on Hamas as a significant development. He credited diplomatic endeavors and international appearances by the families for contributing to this positive shift, revealing Qatar’s warnings to Hamas regarding potential repercussions if they persist in their obstinacy.

Dispelling notions of his reluctance to engage in negotiations, Netanyahu emphasized the evolving dynamics of Qatari influence as a promising development. He assured the families of his dedication to facilitating a resolution, underscoring the newfound leverage in negotiations.

Accompanying the Prime Minister were his Chief-of-Staff, Tzachi Braverman, Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil, Coordinator for Hostages and the Missing Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Gal Hirsch, Hostages Authority Director Yaron Cohen, and Varda Pomerantz from the Hostages Committee, all pivotal figures in the ongoing efforts to secure the captives’ release. Their presence underscored the government’s unwavering commitment and the meticulous coordination of efforts aimed at bringing the hostages safely home.