An Israeli diplomatic official responded on Sunday to the criticism that has been leveled at the government for contemplating calling off an operation in the Gazan city of Rafah if a hostage release deal with Hamas were to be agreed upon.

“The preparations for entering Rafah are continuing. In any deal, if there is one, Israel will not give up the goals of the war,” said the official.

Earlier on Sunday, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich blasted the Egyptian outline for a deal to release the hostages, in exchange for a ceasefire that would prevent the entry of Israeli military into Rafah.

Smotrich spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a videotaped message and said, "Mr. Prime Minister, all Egyptian mediation agreements that ended previous ‘rounds’ of violence, leaving Hamas alive and kicking and enabling it to strengthen itself again and again, and massacre Israeli citizens in a way that has not happened since the Holocaust, is exactly what you have led to in the last two decades, and that is exactly, but exactly, what we have all promised not to do again."... Read More: Arutz-7