Gantz assures Netanyahu of support for ceasefire agreement


Israeli opposition politician Benny Gantz has pledged his support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if Israeli negotiators agree to a ceasefire and hostage swap in indirect talks with Hamas in the coming weeks.

His centrist National Unity party will support any reasonable agreement that leads to the return of hostages kidnapped by Hamas, Gantz said in a telephone conversation with Netanyahu, his office said.

The talks, mediated by the US, Egypt and Qatar, have been at a standstill for a long time. However, a new round is set to begin in the Qatari capital Doha in the coming days after Hamas indicated flexibility on some points of a proposal supported by Israel.

Hamas wants an end to the war and the release of the hostages in exchange for a large number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli custody.

There are fears in Israel that Netanyahu will reject a deal, as he did in earlier stages of the negotiations, because he needs to please his ultra-religious and far-right coalition partners.

They oppose any possible concessions – such as an end to the war in Gaza before the complete destruction of Hamas – and threaten to leave the coalition.

Along with other moderate politicians, Gantz was part of the war cabinet formed after the unprecedented Hamas massacre on October 7 last year. They left the war cabinet in June, saying Netanyahu had failed to come up with a strategy for Gaza after the war.

During the attack on southern Israel, terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups killed 1,200 people and took another 250 hostages in the Gaza Strip. Israel believes there are still around 120 hostages, but many of them are probably dead.

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