The Israeli leader rules out a ceasefire but suggests being open to “small tactical pauses” in the conflict.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested that his country will take over management of Gaza’s security long after its war with Hamas ends.
Asked in an interview on Monday who would rule Gaza after the war, Netanyahu said he believed Israel would bear responsibility for security “for an indefinite period.”
“When we do not bear this security responsibility, what we face is the outbreak of Hamas terrorism on a scale that we cannot imagine,” Netanyahu said in an interview with ABC News.
Netanyahu’s statements came after US President Joe Biden, his closest ally, warned Israel last month against a large-scale occupation of Gaza, saying that doing so would be a “big mistake.”
While Biden has strongly supported Netanyahu’s war against Hamas, the two leaders have disagreed over tactics, including efforts to prevent civilian casualties and the need for the fighting to stop to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered.
On Monday, Netanyahu stressed that he would not accept a ceasefire until Hamas released its captives in Gaza, but indicated his openness to “small tactical pauses” to allow the movement of people and aid.
There will be no ceasefire, general ceasefire in Gaza without the release of our hostages. “With regard to small tactical pauses, an hour here, an hour there – we have had them before,” Netanyahu said.
“I assume we will check the conditions in order to enable the entry of goods and humanitarian goods or the departure of our hostages. But I do not think there will be a general ceasefire.”
Israel is under increasing international pressure to halt its bombing of Gaza, which began in response to Hamas attacks on October 7 that Israeli officials say killed at least 1,405 people, most of them civilians.
On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an urgent ceasefire, warning that the enclave had become a “cemetery for children.”
Biden pressed Netanyahu to agree to a “humanitarian truce” to allow aid into the Strip, but he supported the Israeli leader’s opposition to a complete ceasefire.
The Israeli army said on Monday that it had “coordinated” with Jordan to airdrop urgent medical and food supplies onto a Jordanian field hospital in the Strip.
At least 10,022 Palestinians, including more than 4,100 children, have been killed in Gaza during the month-long war, according to the Ministry of Health in the Hamas-run enclave.
Netanyahu said on Monday that the loss of any civilian lives was a “tragedy” but cast doubt on the announced death toll, saying it included “several thousand” Palestinian fighters.
The Israeli leader also accused Hamas of using Gazans as human shields.
He added: “It is a very powerful enemy, but we cannot allow them immunity.”
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