Israel’s Lapid vows to support PM Netanyahu on hostage release deal

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Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid vowed Saturday to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he goes ahead with a truce and hostage release deal that his far-right coalition partners have previously opposed.

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that Israel had offered a new roadmap towards a full ceasefire including the release of hostages held by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners, including National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, have previously threatened to bring down his government if the war ends without the destruction of Hamas.

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Lapid said in a post on social media platform X: “I remind Netanyahu that he has our safety net for a hostage deal if Ben Gvir and Smotrich leave the government.”

“The Israeli government cannot ignore President Biden’s important speech,” Lapid said.

“There is a deal on the table and it should take it.”

Netanyahu on Saturday insisted that the destruction of Hamas was part of the Israeli plan laid out by Biden.

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

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Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

At least 36,379 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments and ground offensive since October 7, according to the health ministry in the territory.

Read more:

Explained: Israel’s three-phase Gaza ceasefire roadmap

Biden says Israel has offered Hamas a new three-phase ceasefire proposal for Gaza

Hamas, Israel react to Biden’s Gaza ceasefire proposal

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