Netanyahu to Biden: ‘No!’

( – In a decisive act by a leader who knows how to deal with Islamist terrorists, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bluntly snubbed a bewildering call by Joe Biden for a “humanitarian pause” in punishing Hamas for the October 7 massacre.

Netanyahu stood firm against the “humanitarian pause” proposed personally to him by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the latter’s fourth visit to Israel in the past month.

On October 7, the Hamas terrorists invaded Israel from the Gaza Strip and slaughtered over 1,400 civilians, including 30 Americans. They also kidnapped hundreds of others.

As he welcomed Blinken in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu was unequivocal in his position, stating there could be no ceasefire before the release of the 240 hostages.

“Israel refuses a temporary ceasefire that doesn’t include a return of our hostages,” the Israeli leader stated following his meeting with Blinken.

Defying Biden an Blinken’s suggestion, Netanyahu committed to persisting in military operations, declaring that Israel will exert “all of its power” in its campaign in the Gaza Strip.

“[A humanitarian pause will] increase security for civilians and permit the more effective and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance. We are focused on getting hostages back to their families and we believe a humanitarian pause could facilitate it,” Blinken argued in comments to reporters.

“That was an important area of discussion today with Israeli leaders — how, when and where these can be implemented, what work needs to happen, and what understandings must be reached,” Biden’s former aide added.

The release of hostages remains a rare occurrence amidst the ongoing conflict, with only a handful returned to their homes and an Israeli soldier extracted from Hamas’s grip recently.

The Israel Defense Forces hold that Hamas maintains custody over 242 hostages. Only four hostages — two Israelis and two American-Israelis — have been released.

While Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Netanyahu have dismissed the idea of a ceasefire, Blinken remains open to discussions.

“A number of legitimate questions were raised by Israel including how to connect the pause to the release of hostages and how to make sure Hamas doesn’t use these pauses to its own advantage. These are issues we need to tackle urgently and we believe it can be solved,” the US State Secretary said.

President Joe Biden, who has consistently supported Israel since the conflict’s escalation, but said last Wednesday that he favors a humanitarian pause.