Netanyahu Tells Blinken He Won’t Agree to Permanent Ceasefire To Free the Hostages

Blinken met with Netanyahu during a visit to Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a meeting on Wednesday that he would not agree to a permanent ceasefire and end to Israeli operations in Gaza in exchange for a deal that would free Israeli hostages.

“He told Blinken that we are interested in reaching a deal and determined to topple Hamas,” an Israeli official told The Times of Israel.

For months, Hamas has said it would free all remaining Israeli hostages in exchange for a permanent truce, an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and the release of Palestinian prisoners. But Netanyahu has maintained that any ceasefire would only be temporary.

Netanyahu also told Blinken that Israel will invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which is packed with over 1 million civilians. “The Rafah operation does not depend on anything,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement from his office. “Prime Minister Netanyahu made this clear to Secretary Blinken.”

A day earlier, Netanyahu said Rafah would be invaded “with or without” a hostage deal. The US claims it’s opposed to Israel invading Rafah under the current circumstances since it would incur huge civilian casualties, but the Biden administration isn’t putting any real pressure on Netanyahu.

During his visit to Israel, Blinken said Hamas was solely to blame for the lack of a ceasefire and hostage deal. “There is a very strong proposal on the table right now. Hamas needs to say yes, and needs to get this done,” he said.

Hamas hit back, saying Israeli officials have said Netanyahu was sabotaging negotiations, which has been previously reported in Israeli media.

“Blinken’s comments contradict reality. It is not strange for Blinken, who is known as the foreign minister of Israel, not America, to make such a statement,” a Hamas official told Reuters. “Even the Israeli negotiating team admitted Netanyahu was the one who was hindering reaching an agreement.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.