Negotiations are continuing between Israel and the Islamic organization Hamas regarding a cessation of fighting and other issues.

However, Prime Minister Netanyahu has emphasized that even if an agreement is reached in negotiations, he will continue with the ground operation toward Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip in order to destroy Hamas.

Regarding negotiations regarding a cessation of fighting in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages, Israel and a mediating country have agreed to a plan to suspend fighting for about six weeks on the condition that Hamas releases approximately 40 hostages. This is reported by Israeli media.

Regarding this, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with American CBS television broadcast on the 25th, ``I don't know yet whether we can reach an agreement to release the hostages.''

Regarding the attack on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, ``Even if we can reach a negotiated agreement, it will only delay the timing a little. Once we start the operation, we will achieve complete victory within a few weeks.'' "We can get what we want," he said, emphasizing his intention to carry out ground operations against Hamas' last stronghold, Rafah, in order to destroy it.

There is strong concern from the international community regarding ground operations in Rafah, where nearly 1.5 million people, including evacuees, live, saying that ``more casualties, mainly children, will result.''

In Israel, citizens dissatisfied with the lack of progress in releasing the hostages held violent protests on the 24th, leading to clashes with police, and calls for negotiations to be prioritized over military operations are growing stronger.