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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas has “unacceptable demands” regarding the release of Israeli detainees in the Gaza Strip, amid divisions among members of his government over the potential deal, and reports of American pressure to reach a long-term truce.

Israeli media quoted Netanyahu as saying during a meeting of his Likud party on Monday, “We have already recovered 110 of our kidnappers and are continuing to work on this issue, but Hamas has demands that we will not accept.”

He added that the terms should be similar to the previous agreement, stressing that the deal would not be concluded “at any price.”

Netanyahu said that he would not end the war on Gaza before eliminating Hamas leaders, and that it would take several months, not years.

In other statements during his inspection of an armored forces base in the Latrun area, west of Jerusalem, the Israeli Prime Minister said that “absolute victory” would open the door to achieving more of what he called historic peace agreements.

With Qatari-Egyptian-American mediation, Hamas and Israel reached a temporary truce last November 24 that lasted a week, during which prisoners were exchanged and limited humanitarian aid was brought into Gaza.

Efforts to reach a new deal were renewed late last month, as meetings were held in Paris that resulted in proposals for a ceasefire and prisoner exchange, which were handed over to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) for study.

American pressure on Netanyahu

Israeli Channel 13 said that the administration of US President Joe Biden is pressuring Netanyahu to agree to a truce for at least 4 months.

This came at a time when the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation said that 4 ministers from the Likud Party attacked the approach of the exchange deal during the weekly government session yesterday, Sunday.

The commission noted that other ministers said that the ministers’ public attack and statements against the deal were behind Netanyahu’s office.

The commission said that these positions may be part of Netanyahu's negotiating strategy, with the aim of saying that there are parties opposed to the deal on the Israeli side.

On the other hand, Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir called for exchanging humanitarian aid to Gaza for the release of Israeli detainees.

Ben Gvir also spoke - during a press conference in Jerusalem - about the existence of a problem in the dealings of the mini-ministerial council in Israel with the American administration, as he put it.

Source: Al Jazeera + agencies