The former head of Mossad says it will take Israel 5 years to bounce back from the war and that they would have to agree to difficult conditions for a ceasefire with Hamas. He also mentioned that Israel would probably have to make significant concessions for any potential hostage exchange with Hamas.

The New Arab Staff

Israel’s former spy chief said the country would need at least five years to recover from the Gaza war when it’s over.

Yossi Cohen, Mossad’s former director, didn’t elaborate further but said that Israel would have to pay a heavy price to bring back captives still held in Gaza.

Speaking to the Israeli public broadcaster Kan, Cohen said any truce deal must be approved by the war cabinet, and perhaps the entire Israeli government, “with very tough terms.”

He said the deal shouldn’t happen in stages, and that all captives should be swapped for Palestinian prisoners in one go.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his government would not accept to pay any price to bring back captives.

“We will not agree to any deal, and not at any price,” Netanyahu said during a weekly meeting in Tel Aviv, Israeli media reported.

He denied that Israel was planning to free large numbers of Palestinian prisoners, which he referred to as “terrorists.”

“Many things that are said in the media as if we agreed to them, such as what is related to the release of terrorists, we simply will not agree to,” he said, as he reiterated vows to destroy Hamas.

Negotiations, being mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the US, are trying to get Hamas and Israel to approve an agreement that would see fighting paused in Gaza, and detainees released.

In a similar deal in November, dozens of Israeli hostages were swapped for Palestinian detainees, and Israeli bombardment was largely brought to a halt for about six days.

Israel says more than 130 hostages remain in Gaza, out of more than 250 taken by Hamas during its surprise attack on October 7. –

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