Smotrich slams ‘irresponsible pressures’ amid growing protests for hostage deal, elections

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich holds a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 13, 2024 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich holds a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 13, 2024 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich calls the growing protests calling for a hostage deal and elections “irresponsible pressures.”

“The demand for flexible positions on our part in the negotiations — as has been proven over and over again — only makes [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar harden his positions even more, and makes the return of the hostages even more distant,” Smotrich writes on X.

“I call on the prime minister to stand firm in the face of irresponsible pressures that endanger the State of Israel and harm the goals of the war,” Smotrich says.

Smotrich’s comments came ahead of four days of action by the families of some of those held in Gaza, and anti-government protesters. The initiative was announced yesterday, with the relatives of some of the hostages saying that it had become clear that the policy of using military pressure to secure their release was not effective.

Earlier this week, Mossad chief David Barnea reportedly informed the war cabinet that a hostage deal was still possible if Israel would be willing to be more amenable to the return of Gazans to their home in the northern part of the Strip, a Hamas demand.

Channel 12 reported Friday that Smotrich, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir were the three ministers who were against greater flexibility in the indirect talks with Hamas.

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