Netanyahu faces accusations of seeking to prolong the war for political gain (French)

CNN quoted a well-informed American diplomat as saying that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not appear ready to reach any agreement to stop the war on the Gaza Strip at the present time.

The source, whose name or description was not mentioned by the American network, added that if Israel launches an attack on Rafah (the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip), then the possibility of concluding a deal regarding the Israeli detainees can be forgotten.

CNN also quoted informed sources as saying that senior American officials believe that there is no chance for Israel to agree to a permanent ceasefire without releasing the detainees. And that through a pause, even if temporary, discussions could continue that would eventually end the war.

The priority is to destroy Hamas

On the other hand, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said that Israel must defeat the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and destroy it so that it can return the kidnapped people to their families.

Smotrich added in a post on the X platform that the media and politicians continue to attack him and religious Zionism, pointing out that he “will not stop telling the truth,” according to what he said.

In response to Smotrich's statements regarding the return of prisoners, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said that "there is no victory without the return of the kidnapped," describing the Finance Minister's words as a "moral disgrace."

Families of Israelis detained in the Gaza Strip intensified their protests demanding that the government conclude a new exchange deal with Hamas (French)

For his part, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant pledged, during his meeting with the families of Israeli detainees, to continue military pressure because it is “the only way to achieve the goals of the war,” he said.

Gallant stressed that the recovery of detainees is "the main goal in any discussion or approval of plans," acknowledging that he faces difficulties in this area.

On December 1, a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel ended, concluded with Qatari mediation and Egyptian-American support, and lasted for 7 days, during which prisoners were exchanged and limited humanitarian aid was brought into the Strip, which is inhabited by about 2.2 million Palestinians.

Over the past weeks, Doha has intensified its contacts and efforts to seek a new truce and another deal to exchange prisoners and detainees.

Since October 7, 2023, the Israeli occupation army has been waging a devastating war on the Gaza Strip, which led to the death of more than 29,000 people and the injury of more than 68,000, in addition to the destruction of various cities and the displacement and starvation of the population.

Source: Al Jazeera + agencies