Ismail Haniyeh: Hamas won’t back down from hostage deal demands

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Hamas is sticking to its original ceasefire and hostage negotiations demands that Israel must halt all military operations in the Gaza Strip, Hamas leader abroad, Ismail Haniyeh, said in a Wednesday speech, according to Arab media sources.

Speaking on International Quds (Jerusalem) Day, Haniyeh said, “We are adhering to our demands for a permanent ceasefire, a comprehensive withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and the return of the displaced.”

Haniyeh said that the Islamist movement at war with Israel was sticking to its conditions for a ceasefire in Gaza, including an Israeli military withdrawal.

“We are committed to our demands: the permanent ceasefire, comprehensive and complete withdrawal of the enemy out of the Gaza Strip, the return of all displaced people to their homes, allowing all aid needed for our people in Gaza, rebuilding the Strip, lifting the blockade and achieving an honorable prisoner exchange deal.”

The exchange he referred to would be a release of Palestinian security prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli hostages being held by militants in Gaza since October 7.

A Hamas terrorist stands in front of a picture of the group’s top leader Ismail Haniyeh during his visit at Ain el Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Sidon, Lebanon September 6, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/AZIZ TAHER)

Israel only wants a temporary truce in Gaza

Israel had said it is interested only in a temporary truce to free hostages, while Hamas says it will let them go only as part of a deal to end the war permanently.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel will push its invasion into Rafah at the southern end of Gaza, where 1.5 million people have sought shelter.

This is a developing story.



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