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Netanyahu Vows To Press Israel’s War Against Hamas Until Victory

  • World, NEWS
  • 5 min read

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Saturday to continue Israel’s war against Hamas until victory, pressing ahead with its offensive in Gaza on the eve of the war’s 100-day mark.

The war was spurred by Hamas’ October 7 attack in southern Israel, the deadliest day in the history of the country. More than 1,200 have been killed in Israel and almost 24,000 people in the Gaza Strip have been killed – more than 1% of Gaza’s population.

Meanwhile, thousands of people began a 24-hour rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, calling on the government to bring hostages home after 100 days in Hamas captivity.

Protesters, holding pictures of abductees, gathered in “Hostages Square” opposite Israel’s Defense Ministry that has been a meeting place for the campaigners.

A defiant Netanyahu said Israel will not be deterred by accusations that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians.

“No one will stop us, not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil, no one,” he said, referring to Hamas and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah that has been firing on Israel from Lebanon, and Houthi militias that have been attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea as a show of support to Hamas.

The Israeli prime minister spoke after a two-day hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. South Africa has accused Israel of genocide in a case before the court. Israel has rejected the accusation as libelous and hypocritical.

Israel says that ending the war now would mean victory for Hamas, an Islamic militant group that has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU and U.K., among others. It has ruled Gaza since 2007 and says it is bent on Israel’s destruction.

An interim ICJ ruling is expected in a few weeks. Rulings are binding but difficult to enforce. Israel would ignore any order to halt fighting, Netanyahu made clear.

Israel faces growing international pressure to end the war, which has led to widespread suffering in addition to the death toll. According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, about two-thirds of the dead are women and children. The ministry said the total number of war wounded has surpassed 60,000 people.

Demonstrators let off colored smoke as they gather near the White House during the March on Washington for Gaza on Jan. 13, 2024, in Washington.
Demonstrators let off colored smoke as they gather near the White House during the March on Washington for Gaza on Jan. 13, 2024, in Washington.

According to the United Nations, Israel continues to bombard much of the Gaza Strip, and armed Palestinian groups continue to fire rockets into Israel. Fighting on the ground between the two also continues across much of Gaza.

Of Gaza’s 36 main hospitals, 15 are operating, albeit partially, according to OCHA, the United Nations’ humanitarian affairs agency.

Fuel was expected to run out again Saturday at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza. Staff had received some emergency fuel from another hospital late Friday, while earlier they had been able to keep ventilators and incubators operating with solar batteries.

It was questionable whether the World Health Organization would be able to deliver a promised shipment of fuel, hospital officials said, as aid deliveries were being disrupted in much of Gaza because of telecommunications blackouts amid the ongoing Israeli bombardment.

Andrea De Domenico, the head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said Friday that Israel has been “very systematic in not allowing us to support hospitals, which is something that is reaching a level of inhumanity that, for me, is beyond comprehension.”

From its official X social media account, formerly Twitter, telecommunications company Paltel said cellular, landline, and internet services across Gaza were cut because of “the ongoing aggression.” The Hamas-controlled territory has seen repeated telecommunications blackouts in the past 100 days because of the fighting and lack of fuel for electricity.

Since the start of Israel’s ground operation in late October, 186 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,099 more have been injured in Gaza, according to the military. More than 85% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million has been displaced due to Israel’s air and ground offensive, and vast swaths of the territory have been leveled.

Amid severe shortages of food, clean water and fuel in Gaza, OCHA said in its daily report that Israel’s severe constraints on humanitarian missions and outright denials had increased since the start of the year.

Only 21% of planned deliveries of food, medicine, water and other supplies have been successfully reaching northern Gaza.

“These denials paralyze the ability of humanitarian partners to respond meaningfully, consistently and at-scale to widespread humanitarian needs,” OCHA said.

“Providing humanitarian assistance across Gaza is almost impossible,” U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told a Security Council meeting Friday.

VOA News