Israel won’t end the war for a deal to free all the hostages, top Netanyahu aide said to tell families

National Security Council Chairman Tzachi Hanegbi speaks to Channel 12, May 4, 2024. (Screen capture: Channel 12; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
National Security Council Chairman Tzachi Hanegbi speaks to Channel 12, May 4, 2024. (Screen capture: Channel 12; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi today told relatives of several hostages held in Gaza that the current government will not agree to end the war in exchange for Hamas releasing all the hostages it has been holding since October 7, according to quotations published by Channel 12 tonight.

Hanegbi told the families at the meeting earlier today, however, that he did think the government would be able to achieve a “stage one” deal for the return of hostages in the so-called humanitarian category in the near future, according to the report.

The national security adviser, a close aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rebuked and insulted the relatives, the report also said, and one female relative left the meeting in tears.

Hamas has repeatedly demanded that Israel end the war as a core element of any further hostage deal.

Channel 12 quoted Hanegbi telling the families that, “The first stage of the deal, the humanitarian phase, we will be able to achieve within a few short months. It won’t take many months and not years.”

But, he reportedly added, “I don’t believe that this government will succeed in completing the entire deal. This government will not take a decision on stopping the war for the return of all the hostages.

“We have to keep fighting in order that there won’t be another October 7 in October 2027,” he reportedly said.

“If the hostages don’t return within weeks or a few short months, we have no alternate plan,” Hangebi reportedly acknowledged. “We will continue to fight in Gaza and in the north, and only then will we reassess.”

In response, one of the participants reportedly said, “Well, then we’re lost.”

Hanegbi reportedly replied. “Correct.”

One of the female participants reportedly protested that money should not be made available in the course of a war for people to build a swimming pool, a comment that Channel 12 said was aimed at Netanyahu.

Hanegebi reportedly responded: “He can build 10 pools with his money. Those are abhorrent things to say.” He reportedly said this was not an appropriate issue for such discussions, and that she should not be exuding such hatred and pain.

The relative reportedly responded: “I have every right to feel pain and hate, because I was in the safe room for 15 hours [during the Hamas onslaught]. I fled from the terrorists and stepped on dead bodies, and you didn’t.”

To which Hanegbi reportedly responded, “Okay, go ahead. Curse me.”

At this point, she left the room in tears, Channel 12 reported. Another female participant then reportedly headed angrily to the door, and Hanegbi said, “You’re also going to make drama, and close the door after you?”

The Channel 12 reporter said he had cross-checked the quotes with members of five different families, and that Hangebi had not denied them.

Hanegbi issued the following response, Channel 12 said: “The National Security Adviser has met with the families of all hostages who seek to meet with him since the beginning of the war. He does not record these conversations and does not disseminate their contents. That is the appropriate way to hold an open dialog between the political echelon and the families in pain.

“I won’t change that practice, even in the wake of today’s meeting. Israel is obligated to achieve the release of all the hostages, and will do so.”

Most Popular