Religious Zionism party says proposed hostage deal ‘bad for Israel’s security,’ will not back it

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

The Religious Zionism party headed by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich says it cannot agree to the deal for the return of 50 hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza which will be proposed to the cabinet this evening.

In a statement to the press, the party, a member of the governing coalition, describes the deal as “bad for Israel’s security, bad for the hostages, and bad for the soldiers of the IDF.”

The party says it wants to see all the hostages brought home, but that the hostage deal will “abandon” some of the captives for an unknown period of time, raise the price for their future release, and give Hamas the opportunity to reorganize and withstand the IDF’s campaign for longer.

It also argues that IDF forces would be exposed to Hamas attacks during the proposed pauses in combat during which the hostages would be released, without the ability to fully respond.

“The only way to return all the hostages is by continuing the unceasing military pressure on Hamas until total victory,” says Religious Zionism in its statement.

“Religious Zionism will stand strong for the continuing of the war until the total destruction of Hamas, the return of all the hostages, and the elimination of the threat posed by Gaza to Israeli citizens,” it concludes.

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