“They demand that we stop the war and we withdraw to the seventh of October’s borders,” he added. “We are not ready to accept that.”
While Netanyahu hoped the two objectives — bringing home the hostages and eliminating Hamas — would go hand in hand, Israel’s conflict tactics have cast doubt over the government’s ability to swiftly and safely return the hostages.
A new layer of tension is straining Netanyahu’s Cabinet, already under scrutiny for the high death toll of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The tally has surpassed 25,000, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza, although the Israelis claim around half are Hamas combatants.
At the same time, Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected a two-state solution, despite pressure from the U.S. and the EU.
Rivlin partially agrees with Netanyahu, arguing for a status in which Israelis and Palestinians live together in an undefined confederation — albeit one in which the Palestinian entity lacks an army or control over migrant flows.
“We have to make it very clear … that it is impossible to accept any state besides Israel that will have the ability to protect itself, and we have to find a way in order to avoid the future Palestinian state to have open borders to invite everyone from outside,” he said.