February 7, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Spurns Hamas Demands, Vows Total Victory in Gaza

February 7, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Spurns Hamas Demands, Vows Total Victory in Gaza

Latest Developments

Israel on February 7 spurned some demands made by Hamas for a proposed Gaza truce, reiterating that the Jewish state would vanquish the Palestinian terrorist group. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a televised news conference following the publication of a Hamas offer to free all hostages from the Gaza Strip over a 135-day period. Hamas demanded in return that Israel withdraw forces, release many jailed Palestinian terrorists, and end hostilities.

Noting the dramatic advances of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) so far, Netanyahu said troops were poised to move against the last Hamas bastions in Gaza — Rafah, on the southern border with Egypt, and central areas of the coastal strip. Victory, he said, was “within touching distance” of months away, not years, and Israel “will make do with nothing other” than the total destruction of Hamas’s military capabilities. He asked relatives of the 132 hostages in Gaza to be patient and trust that Israeli military pressure on Hamas would help recover their loved ones. “Submission to the ludicrous Hamas demands will not bring about the release of the abductees,” Netanyahu said.

Expert Analysis

“Exactly four months from the beginning of the Gaza war, and with U.S. Secretary of State Blinken visiting after stops in Arab capitals, Israel is under pressure internationally and domestically for a change of tack. But it has chosen to stay the course and win. It deserves support in this — and most immediately from Cairo, given the prospects of a necessary IDF sweep in Rafah.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Hamas’s proposal prioritizes the group’s survival in Gaza, which is a nonstarter for Israel. If Hamas truly cared about the well-being of its people, it would release the hostages and surrender instead of furthering a war that will likely end in the group’s demise.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Status of Hostages

Jerusalem has pushed back against media reports that the official number given for hostages who have died in captivity — 31 — is considerably lower than that assessed by Israeli intelligence. Government spokespeople insisted that 31 remains the official figure, and specifically denied one report that the youngest hostage, one-year-old Kfir Bibas, had died.

Hamas took approximately 240 hostages into Gaza on October 7. The terrorist group released 81 Israeli hostages between November 24 and November 30 as part of a week-long pause brokered by Qatar and Egypt. The terrorist group also released 23 Thai nationals, one Filipino, and three Israeli-Russian dual citizens under separate arrangements with Bangkok, Manila, and Moscow. The pause collapsed on December 1, when Hamas refused to provide a list of the remaining women and children in captivity and resumed launching rockets at Israel.

Tunnel Used by Hamas to Hold Hostages Found in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Combat Battalions Down 70%,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Smashed in Khan Younis,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel, Hamas Weigh Three-Stage Deal for Return of Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief


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