Netanyahu brushes off ceasefire calls, deaths in hospital as fuel runs out
By Wafaa Shurafa |
Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back against growing international calls for a ceasefire, saying Israel’s battle to crush Gaza’s ruling Hamas militants will continue with “full force”.
A ceasefire would be possible only if all 239 hostages held by militants in Gaza are released, Netanyahu said in a televised address.
Palestinians flee to the southern Gaza Strip on Salah al-Din Street in Bureij.
The Israeli leader also insisted that after the war – now entering its sixth week – Gaza would be demilitarised and Israel would retain security control there. Asked what he meant by security control, Netanyahu said Israeli forces must be able to enter Gaza freely to hunt down militants.
He also rejected the idea that the Palestinian Authority, which currently administers autonomous areas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, would at some stage control Gaza. Both positions run counter to post-war scenarios floated by Israel’s closest ally, the United States.