Netanyahu rejects Gaza cease-fire offer, says ‘very far’ from Israel’s demands


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday publicly rejected a Gaza cease-fire proposal accepted by Hamas.

The Palestinian group said Monday evening that it had accepted a proposed cease-fire drawn by Qatar and Egypt.

“Israel cannot accept a proposal that endangers the safety of our citizens and the future of our country,” Netanyahu said in a video message.

He claimed that the “Hamas proposal” was meant “to sabotage the entry of our forces into Rafah.”

“That did not happen,” he said, insisting that the proposal was “very far from Israel’s vital demands.”

”Within hours, our forces raised the Israeli flags at the Rafah crossing and took down the Hamas flags,” Netanyahu said. ”We have already proven that military pressure on Hamas is a necessary condition for the return of our hostages.”

The Israeli army said Tuesday that its 401st armored brigade had seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing in southern Gaza.

The Rafah border crossing is a vital route for humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege since last Oct. 7 that left the territory’s population on the verge of starvation.

On Monday, Israeli forces issued evacuation orders for Palestinians in eastern Rafah, a move widely seen as a prelude to Israel’s long-feared attack on the city, home to some 1.5 million displaced Palestinians.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip in retaliation for an Oct. 7 Hamas attack, which killed about 1,200 people. Nearly 34,800 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and 78,100 others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.__The Nation