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Netanyahu says hostage deal possible if Hamas stops 'delusional claims' as US says outline agreed

Netanyahu said he does not know the "exact duration" of a temporary ceasefire, but said it is in the works although he is unsure if it will actually materialize. 

Published: February 25, 2024 12:48pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a deal to release the hostages is possible if Hamas stops making "delusional claims" as White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Israel, the U.S., Qatar and Egypt came to a basic agreement about what a temporary ceasefire would look like.

CBS News' "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan asked Netanyahu in an interview aired Sunday about reports that a hostage deal would bring a six-week ceasefire.

Netanyahu said he does not know the "exact duration" of a temporary ceasefire, but said it is in the works although he is unsure if it will actually materialize. 

"I want it. Because we want to liberate the remaining hostages, we've already brought half of them back," Netanyahu said. "I can't tell you if we'll have it. But if Hamas goes down from its delusional claims and goes down can bring them down to earth, then we'll have the progress that we all want."

Brennan further pressed Netanyahu about what is holding up any potential deal.

"I don't think it makes any sense to have a public discussion of this. But Hamas started out with just crazy demands," the prime minister responded.

He said that if Hamas' demands get into the "ballpark" of reasonable, there will be a discussion. Right now, Hamas is "not even in the city. They're in another planet. But if they come down to a reasonable situation, then yes, we'll have a hostage deal," Netanyahu said.

He also reiterated his support for the IDF's operation in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, where four Hamas battalions remain and he pledged that evacuated Gazan civilians will not be pushed into Egypt as a result of the operation.

Also on Sunday, Sullivan told CNN's "State of the Union" that a hostage deal is close. 

"Representatives of Israel, the United States, Egypt, and Qatar met in Paris and came to an understanding among the four of them about what the basic contours of a hostage deal for a temporary cease-fire would look like," Sullivan said. 

The negotiation is still being discussed, and ultimately Qatar and Egypt will have to present it to Hamas before anything can be agreed upon, he also said. 

Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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