Washington — Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., defended his government’s resistance to ain the , saying it would give the terrorist group an advantage.
The U.S. has been supportive of a temporary pause in fighting in order to secure the release of more than 200 hostages held by Hamas since the. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back on those requests, saying there will be no humanitarian pause without the .
Herzog told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Israel supports a pause that would allow for the release of hostages, but said Hamas is not “serious” about releasing them.
“We are making every effort to get hostages released,” Herzog said. “When people talk about pause in the fighting, we are all for a pause that would allow for the release of hostages. Unfortunately … it is not our impression that Hamas is serious about releasing them. They are playing for time. They are trying to stop our pressure and rearm and regroup themselves.”
“When we see that they are serious about it, then we’re all in,” he said. “Nobody has to urge us. Most of the kidnaps are Israelis, and our government is responsible to the families. So nobody has to urge us on this.”
Hamas has released four hostages in the last month — two Americans and two Israelis — but negotiations for more releases have so far been unsuccessful.
“Because Hamas is playing for time,” Herzog repeated when asked why talks have been unsuccessful. “Because Hamas is trying to stop our military efforts. I think the more pressure we put on them, the more chances there are that they may agree to release hostages.”
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