Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, vowed Wednesday to continue a deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip until achieving a “crushing victory” against Hamas, Anadolu Agency reports.
“Giving in to the outrageous demands of Hamas will not only fail to bring about the release of the hostages but will invite an additional massacre and a disaster for Israel,” Netanyahu said at a news conference. “The day after the war is the day after Hamas. Not part of Hamas, not half of Hamas.”
Netanyahu said victory against the Gaza-based Palestinian group would come in a “matter of months”, not years.
“We are on the way to complete victory. The victory is within reach,” he said. “We will continue until the end.”
“There is no other solution besides complete victory.”
The Israeli Premier said he instructed the army to prepare for an offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
“After Hamas is destroyed Gaza will be demilitarised and there is only one force that can ensure Israel’s security. That means Israel will operate in Gaza wherever and however long is needed to ensure terrorism does not lift its head again,” he added.
Netanyahu’s statements came shortly after talks with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on a proposed ceasefire in Gaza.
The US, Qatar and Egypt, the key mediators between Hamas and Israel, confirmed they received a response from the Palestinian group to a framework agreement for a ceasefire and hostage-prisoner swap with Israel.
A Palestinian source told Anadolu that Hamas proposed a three-stage plan for a ceasefire that includes a 135-day pause in fighting in return for the release of hostages.
The Israeli war in the Palestinian enclave began after a 7 October attack by Hamas, in which 1,200 people are believed to have been killed, and 240 taken as hostages.
However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.
More than 100 hostages were released during a week long pause in fighting in November, in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.
Israel’s attacks have killed more than 27,000 Palestinians, and about 85 per cent of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million has been displaced, according to the UN.