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A month into war, Netanyahu says Israel will have an ‘overall security’ role in Gaza indefinitely

by Ryan Lee
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fokus keyword: Israel-Hamas conflict

One month after hostilities commenced, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel will retain “overall security responsibility” in Gaza for an undefined period following the conflict with Hamas. This assertion stands as the strongest signal to date that Israel intends to keep its grip on the coastal strip that is populated by approximately 2.3 million Palestinians.

Speaking with ABC News in a segment broadcast late on Monday, Netanyahu showed willingness to consider short halts in the hostilities to allow for the release of a portion of the over 240 individuals captured by Hamas during their incursion into Israel on October 7, which sparked the ongoing conflict a month prior.

However, Netanyahu dismissed the idea of a widespread truce without the freedom of all hostages, and the White House announced after a Monday call between Netanyahu and President Joe Biden that no consensus was reached regarding Biden’s proposal for a more extensive humanitarian ceasefire.

The Israeli military has engaged with Palestinian militants within Gaza for more than a week, effectively bisecting the territory and surrounding Gaza City.

The toll of the war has been profound. Aerial bombardments have decimated entire neighborhoods across Gaza, and roughly 70% of residents have been displaced, many following Israeli directives to move to the territory’s south, which is also under attack. Essential supplies such as food, medicines, fuel, and water are dwindling, and shelters, such as those run by the United Nations in schools, are filled beyond capacity.

According to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza, the Palestinian death toll has exceeded 10,000, with children accounting for over 4,100 of the deceased. Additionally, more than 2,300 individuals are missing and presumed to be entombed beneath the ruins, as reported on Monday by the ministry, which does not differentiate between civilians and militants. Israel has stated it has neutralized thousands of militants.

In Israel, approximately 1,400 individuals have perished, with the majority being civilians caught in the Hamas offensive on October 7 that initiated the war. Israel has made a commitment to dismantle Hamas’s governance and debilitate its military infrastructure.

The Israeli strategy is concentrated on Gaza City, previously the home of around 650,000 inhabitants—comparable to the populace of Washington, D.C. Israel accuses Hamas of extensive militant operations in the city, including a widespread tunnel network, and alleges that civilians are being used as shields by militants.

Hundreds of thousands are believed to still be present in the north, directly in the path of the assault. The military has stated that there is a one-directional passage allowing individuals from Gaza City and neighboring areas to evacuate southwards. Nevertheless, fear has gripped many, with sections of the route being under Israeli control.

Residents in northern Gaza have reported intense confrontations into the early hours of Tuesday near Gaza City. Shati refugee camp, densely populated and home to refugees from the 1948 conflict and their descendants, has faced severe attacks from air and sea in the last two days, according to locals.

Marwan Abdullah, taking refuge in Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital along with thousands of others, recounts incessant bombings through the night, as ambulances brought in casualties from the Shati camp. “We couldn’t sleep. Things get worse day by day,” he stated.

An early Monday attack struck Shifa Hospital’s roof, resulting in casualties among the displaced people sheltering there and destroying solar panels critical for powering the hospital, which is currently reliant on a single generator due to fuel shortages, as informed by Mohamed Zaqout, the general manager of Gaza’s hospitals.

In the southern region of Gaza, where residents have been advised to take refuge, an Israeli airstrike demolished homes early Tuesday in Khan Younis. A journalist from Big Big News on-site reported that rescue workers extracted five bodies from the wreckage, including three children.

The conflict has further inflamed tensions, leading to exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah along the Lebanese border. Since the war’s onset, over 160 Palestinians have lost their lives in the occupied West Bank, predominantly during violent protests and confrontations with Israeli forces during arrest operations.

Israel assumed control over Gaza, the West Bank, and east Jerusalem following the 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians claim these territories for a prospective sovereign state. Israel has annexed east Jerusalem, a move not widely recognized internationally, and regards the entire city as its capital. Over 500,000 Jewish settlers reside in settlements scattered throughout the occupied West Bank.

Israeli authorities have been reticent about their post-Hamas plans for Gaza, suggesting a reluctance to reoccupy the region. Israel removed its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but has continued to oversee the region’s airspace, maritime access, and most border crossings.

Two years after the Israeli withdrawal, Hamas took control from forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, relegating his Palestinian Authority to portions of the West Bank under Israeli occupation.

Israel and Egypt have since imposed blockades on Gaza to varying extents. Israel justifies the blockade as a necessary measure to prevent Hamas from rearming, while Palestinians and human rights organizations view it as collective punishment.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the U.S., concluding his recent trip to the area on Monday, hinted at the possibility of a rejuvenated Palestinian Authority taking the helm in Gaza. Abbas has, however, stated that any governance over Gaza would be part of a broader peace agreement establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, a concept Israel firmly opposes.

In his ABC News interview, Netanyahu suggested that governance of Gaza should pass to those not inclined to follow Hamas, yet did not provide further details.

“I believe Israel will, for an indefinite period, hold overall security responsibility because we’ve observed the consequences of its absence. Without this control, we’ve witnessed an escalation of Hamas terror beyond what we could have imagined,” Netanyahu declared.

The Israeli military reports that since the ground operation started more than a week ago, 30 Israeli soldiers have been killed. Hamas and other militant factions continue to launch rockets into Israel, which disrupts daily life although most are intercepted or land in open areas. Tens of thousands of Israelis have evacuated from areas close to the volatile Gaza and Lebanon borders.

Since October 21, hundreds of aid trucks have gained entry to Gaza through Egypt, but relief workers state that this assistance is insufficient given the escalating needs. Additionally, the Rafah Crossing has been opened by Egypt, permitting hundreds with foreign passports and medical needs to depart from Gaza.

Reported by Magdy from Cairo.

For complete coverage, visit Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: Israel-Hamas conflict

What is the current stance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Israel’s role in Gaza?

Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated that Israel will maintain “overall security responsibility” for Gaza indefinitely following the war with Hamas. This is seen as an indication that Israel plans to sustain control over the coastal enclave.

How has the recent conflict affected the population in Gaza?

The conflict has led to significant devastation, with airstrikes leveling entire city blocks and approximately 70% of Gaza’s population fleeing their homes. Essential resources such as food, medicine, fuel, and water are in short supply, and displacement shelters are overwhelmed.

What are the casualty figures from the ongoing conflict in Gaza?

According to the Health Ministry of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, the Palestinian death toll has exceeded 10,000, including over 4,100 children. Additionally, more than 2,300 people are reported missing.

Has there been any progress toward a ceasefire?

Netanyahu has dismissed the possibility of a general ceasefire without the release of all hostages seized by Hamas. The White House has indicated there is no agreement on a broader humanitarian pause, contrary to President Joe Biden’s call.

What is the international response to the situation in Gaza?

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has suggested that the Palestinian Authority could take over governance in Gaza after a peace solution is established. However, the Israeli government opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, a stance that complicates diplomatic efforts.

How have the residents of Gaza been affected by the Israeli military’s operations?

Residents have experienced intense military confrontations, especially in northern Gaza and around Gaza City. Many are afraid to flee due to the ongoing battles and the risk of airstrikes, even as some evacuation routes remain open.

What is the extent of damage to infrastructure in Gaza?

Key infrastructures have been severely damaged, including the destruction of solar panels on the roof of Shifa Hospital following an airstrike, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis by affecting the hospital’s power supply.

What has been the response from Israel regarding their future plans for Gaza?

Israeli officials have largely remained silent on their long-term plans for Gaza post-Hamas but have expressed a desire to avoid reoccupation, while maintaining tight control over security and border crossings.

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