Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the recent reports about imminent hostage deals at a press conference on Motzei Shabbos and said that “as of now there is no deal.”
Prior to the press conference, Israeli media channels quoted an anonymous Israeli official as saying that the ground operation in Gaza is placing pressure on Hamas leaders to reach a deal. There have also been reports that Israeli leaders are insisting that a larger number of hostages be freed in a potential deal and include all women and children now in Gaza.
Netanyahu added that the Israeli public will be updated if any hostage deal emerges.
Netanyahu also addressed the subject of humanitarian aid entering Gaza, which has sparked the ire of many Israelis, especially the fuel brought into the Strip on Friday. The prime minister said that humanitarian aid is needed for international support to continue the IDF’s operation in Gaza.
On Friday, Israel agreed to a US request to allow two trucks of fuel to enter Gaza every day. The fuel, which is only about 3% of the amount of fuel brought into the Strip on a daily basis prior to the war, will be used only to maintain the sewage system in Gaza in order to prevent the spread of disease.
An outbreak of disease could potentially spread to the thousands of IDF soldiers currently in the Strip as well as cause a dire humanitarian crisis among Gazan civilians which would raise an international outcry.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)