July 13, 2024

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The war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza: Latest updates

The war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza: Latest updates
Israeli soldiers repair tank tracks near the border with Gaza, in southern Israel, last week.credit…Jacques Guez/AFP – Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with Israeli television on Sunday night that the intense phase of the Israeli war against Hamas is “about to end,” although he stressed that this does not mean that the conflict is nearing its end.

After the operation in Rafah, the southernmost city of the Gaza Strip that was the last focus of the Israeli ground offensive, the Prime Minister said that Israel would continue to “mow the grass” – a term long used in Israeli security circles to refer to the use of force with the aim of curbing acts of terrorism. Violence. – Renewal of armed organizations.

Netanyahu’s comments were the latest suggestion by senior Israeli officials that the war may soon enter a period of change.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was in Washington for meetings with Biden administration officials, which he said would include discussing “the transition to ‘Phase C’ in Gaza.”

While the Israeli military says it is on the verge of dismantling or seriously damaging Hamas’ military infrastructure, the government has not proposed any clear plan for managing Gaza after the war.

Mr. Netanyahu suggested in the interview that a post-war civil administration would include local Palestinians, hopefully with the help of moderate Arab countries. He said that the Israeli army would have to maintain overall security control over the enclave.

The prime minister continued to rule out a proposal pushed by the Biden administration: handing Gaza over to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in parts of the occupied West Bank.

Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, last week. The Israeli government did not propose a clear plan for managing Gaza after the end of the war. credit…Iyad Baba/AFP – Getty Images

To reach “the day after Hamas,” Netanyahu said, “first you have to eliminate Hamas” — reiterating his longstanding position of completely eliminating the militant group, a goal that many experts say is out of reach.

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The prime minister’s comments came in a 44-minute interview he gave to “The Patriots,” a populist and often divisive nightly talk show on Channel 14, a right-wing Israeli television station that serves Mr. Netanyahu’s voter base.

Netanyahu has rarely been interviewed in Hebrew with an Israeli audience since the beginning of the war. He has faced domestic criticism for giving frequent interviews to American networks while dealing with Israelis mainly through televised statements, sporadic press conferences, or via video clips.

Mr. Netanyahu also addressed the stalled ceasefire negotiations during the interview, indicating at one point that he was willing to reach a “partial” agreement to return some of the 120 hostages being held in Gaza — a statement his office quickly returned.

The Prime Minister said he was ready to agree to a temporary truce, release some hostages, and then resume the war after that. This proposal appears to contradict the Israeli proposal that Mr. Netanyahu and his war cabinet agreed to last month to reach an interim agreement that would release all hostages and enter into a permanent ceasefire – a proposal that was endorsed by President Biden and the US government. United Nations Security Council.

But at another point in Sunday’s interview, Netanyahu said he was committed to returning all remaining hostages, of whom Israel said at least a third had died in captivity.

In a brief statement issued after the interview, Mr. Netanyahu’s office said that it was Hamas, not Israel, that opposed the deal, and added: “Prime Minister Netanyahu has made clear that we will not leave Gaza until we return all of our 120 hostages, living and dead.”

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The Forum for Families of Hostages and Missing Persons, which advocates on behalf of hostages, condemned Mr. Netanyahu’s comments in the interview, saying that failure to push through the ceasefire proposal “abandons 120 hostages and violates the state’s moral obligation to its citizens.”

The group said in a statement: “The families of the hostages will not allow the government and its leader to back down from their basic commitments to the fate of our loved ones.” “The responsibility and duty to return all hostages lies with the Prime Minister.”

Jonathan Rees And Adam Rasgon Contributed to reports.