Netanyahu rejects ‘still absurd’ Hamas demands but will send team to Qatar; approves IDF plan for Rafah operation

File - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes a meeting of the security cabinet in Tel Aviv on March 15, 2024 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
File - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes a meeting of the security cabinet in Tel Aviv on March 15, 2024 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects the latest proposal put forward by Hamas for a release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and a truce, saying its demands “are still absurd.” But he says he will send Israeli delegates to Qatar to continue truce efforts.

He also approves an IDF plan of operation to enter the southern Gaza city of Rafah, his office says in a statement after a meeting of the war cabinet.

“The IDF is prepared for the operation and to evacuate the [civilian] population.”

The decision comes despite widespread warnings from the international community, including from the US and Egypt, not to enter Rafah where some 1.5 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

The statement also says that Israel will send a delegation to Qatar to continue talks on a truce deal “once the security cabinet discusses the Israeli position.”

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