Netanyahu Rejects Full Ceasefire Although US Weapons Shipments to Israel Decline

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent announcement of his wilingness to agree only to a partial ceasefire in the Gaza conflict has intensified tensions with the U.S. and sparked significant backlash from the families of hostages held by H

by Sededin Dedovic
Netanyahu Rejects Full Ceasefire Although US Weapons Shipments to Israel Decline
© Pool / getty Images

Doubts about the success of the peace proposal to end the war in Gaza, supported by the U.S., were stirred by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he announced that he would agree "only to a partial ceasefire agreement that would not end the war," causing significant discontent among the families of hostages held by Hamas.

In an interview on Sunday on Israel's Channel 14, the Israeli leader said he was ready to make a partial deal to secure the release of some of the 120 hostages still held in the Gaza Strip. "But we are committed to continuing the war after a pause to complete the goal of eliminating Hamas.

I am not willing to give that up," Netanyahu said, according to the Associated Press. His words do not dramatically diverge from what he had previously stated regarding the terms for an agreement. However, they come at a sensitive time, as Israel and Hamas seem to be moving further apart over the latest ceasefire proposal, potentially representing another failure for mediators trying to end the war.

Netanyahu's statements are in stark contrast to the outlines of the agreement detailed late last month by U.S. President Joe Biden, who presented the plan as Israel's and which some in Israel refer to as the "Netanyahu agreement."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre on June 8, 2© Pool / Getty Images

His remarks could further strain Israel's ties with the U.S., its main ally, which has exerted significant diplomatic pressure for the latest ceasefire proposal.

The three-phase plan would lead to the release of the remaining hostages in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. However, disputes and mistrust remain between Israel and Hamas over the agreement's implementation.

Hamas will not release the remaining hostages unless there is a permanent ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. When Biden announced the latest proposal last month, he said it included both conditions.

But Netanyahu says Israel remains committed to the total destruction of Hamas so that it can never launch another attack like the one on October 7. A full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, where Hamas's top leadership and a large part of its forces remain intact, would almost certainly leave the group in control of the territory and able to rearm.

Hamas seems concerned that Israel will continue the war even after its hostages are returned. And even if it doesn't, Israel could impose demands in that phase of negotiations that were not part of the original deal and are unacceptable to Hamas — and then resume the war when Hamas rejects them.

Netanyahu's comments have only heightened this concern. After the interview aired, Hamas said the remarks represented "an unequivocal rejection" of the U.S.-backed deal, which also received support from the United Nations Security Council.

The families of the hostages are becoming increasingly impatient with Netanyahu, seeing his apparent reluctance to proceed with the agreement for political reasons. A group representing the families condemned Netanyahu's statements and considered them an Israeli rejection of the latest ceasefire proposal.

Protesters clash with police officers during a demonstration calling for a hostages deal with Hamas and against Israeli Prime Mi© Amir Levy / Getty Images

Decreased Shipments of American Weapons

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed his government yesterday that there has been a "dramatic decline" in shipments of American weapons for Israel's war efforts in Gaza, reiterating his earlier claim, which the Biden administration denied, highlighting growing tensions between the two allies, the AP reports.

Netanyahu told his cabinet that the decline began four months ago, without specifying which weapons, saying only that "certain items have been arriving sporadically, but ammunition has been lagging." The dispute shows heightened tensions between Israel and Washington over the war in Gaza, particularly concerning the behavior of the Israeli military in the besieged territory and its impact on civilian lives.

U.S. President Joe Biden delayed the shipment of certain heavy bombs since May due to these concerns, but his administration last week denied Netanyahu's accusations. Netanyahu's statement last week sparked discontent in Israel and was met with denial and confusion from White House officials.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. was "perplexed" by Netanyahu's claims. A White House official said the administration had repeatedly stated its position on the matter and declined to respond to Netanyahu's comments.

The same official said American officials look forward to "constructive consultations" this week in Washington with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant. Galant, Netanyahu's rival within the ruling Likud party, departed for Washington today.

His office said he would discuss "maintaining Israel's qualitative edge in the region," but did not mention the issue of weapons.

Benjamin Netanyahu