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Hamas says there is ‘no chance’ remaining 130 Israeli hostages will be released as Netanyahu ‘outright rejects’ new ceasefire terms from ‘monsters’ in Gaza where ‘war death toll has passed 25,000’

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There is now ‘no chance’ that Israeli hostages held in Gaza will return to their families, a top Hamas official has declared, after Tel-Aviv turned down another ceasefire deal proposed by the Palestinian group.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday resolutely rejected conditions presented by Hamas to end the war – a release of all hostages in return for a total military withdrawal from Gaza by the IDF, and Hamas maintaining power.

‘In exchange for the release of our hostages, Hamas demands the end of the war, the withdrawal of our forces from Gaza, the release of all the murderers and rapists,’ Netanyahu said in a statement.

‘I reject outright the terms of surrender of the monsters of Hamas,’ he retorted bluntly.

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Hours later, senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said the Israeli leader’s refusal to end the military offensive in Gaza ‘means there is no chance for the return of the (Israeli) captives.’

It comes as the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said over the weekend that more than 25,000 Palestinians had perished in Israeli strikes since October 7, triggering anti-war protests in cities worldwide.

A fire rages at sunrise in Khan Younis following an Israeli airstrike on targets in the southern Gaza strip

Israeli army flares illuminate the sky over Gaza City during Israeli operation in the northern Gaza Strip, 20 January 2024

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This photograph taken on January 22, 2024 from Rafah, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment over Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected terms presented by Hamas to end the war

A person holds a placard, as families of hostages and supporters protest outside Netanyahu’s house

Families of hostages and supporters hold banners during a protest to call for the immediate release of hostages kidnapped during the deadly October 7 attack

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A person holds a placard, as families of hostages and supporters protest to call for the immediate release of hostages kidnapped during the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu residence, in Jerusalem January 21, 2024

Under a deal brokered in late November by the United States, Qatar and Egypt, more than 100 of the estimated 240 hostages taken captive to Gaza during an attack by Hamas militants on October 7 were freed in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Since then, Netanyahu has faced mounting pressure to secure the release of the 136 hostages who remain in captivity.

The Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum demanded in a statement that Netanyahu ‘clearly state that we will not abandon civilians, soldiers, and others kidnapped in the October debacle.’

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‘We must advance the deal now,’ it said.

‘If the prime minister decides to sacrifice the hostages, he should show leadership and honestly share his position with the Israeli public.’

Relatives of the hostages at a protest outside Netanyahu’s residence also demanded action.

‘We need the government to now fix the problem that they have created and get these hostages home immediately, said Jon Polin, father of Hersh Goldberg-Polin.

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U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday he spoke with Netanyahu about possible solutions for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, suggesting one path could involve a non-militarised government.

‘There are a number of types of two-state solutions,’ he said.

‘There’s a number of countries that are members of the UN that… don’t have their own militaries,’ Biden told reporters after an event at the White House.

But senior Hamas official on Saturday dismissed Biden’s comments, labelling him complicit in the ‘genocide’ of Palestinians.

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This photograph taken on January 22, 2024 from Rafah, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment over Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip

Displaced Palestinians, living in tents, struggle with cold weather under limited means and difficult conditions in Khan Yunis, Gaza on January 22, 2024

Relatives of Israeli hostages carrying photographs and banners, set up tents in front of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house to protest the Israeli government and demanding an immediate hostage deal in Jerusalem on January 21, 2024

Relatives of Israeli hostages carrying photographs and banners, set up tents in front of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house

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President Joe Biden said on Friday he’d spoken with Netanyahu about the possibility of a two-state solution

Smoke in the sky over Gaza City during Israeli operations in the northern Gaza Strip, 20 January 2024

‘The illusion that Biden is preaching about a state of Palestine and its characteristics does not fool our people,’ Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the Islamist group’s political bureau, said in a statement.

‘Biden is a full partner in the genocidal war and our people do not expect any good from him.’

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Hours later, Netanyahu also pushed back against Biden’s remarks about Palestinian statehood after the war against Hamas in Gaza ends.

‘In his conversation with President Biden, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his policy that after Hamas is destroyed Israel must retain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, a requirement that contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty,’ Netanyahu’s office said in a statement issued on Saturday.

In the statement on Sunday, Netanyahu repeated that he would insist upon ‘full Israeli security control over all the territory west of Jordan.’

Netanyahu said he had firmly stood up to ‘international and internal pressures’ to change this position and would continue to do so.

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‘My insistence is what prevented for years the establishment of a Palestinian state that would have posed an existential danger to Israel,’ he said.

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