Israel has no intention of ruling or dominating the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured on Thursday night (11/9/2023) during an interview.
In fact, Benjamin Netanyahu assured that the Israeli army is progressing “extremely well” in the Gaza Strip and in the war it has launched against Hamas.
“I think the Israeli army is doing extremely well,” Netanyahu said, referring to “fighting terrorists on the ground and underground.” “We will continue until the elimination of Hamas” and “nothing will stop us,” he insisted.
“I set the goals, but I didn’t set a timetable because it might take longer,” he continued. “I would like it to take some time. But we are moving step by step, reducing our losses and trying to reduce the losses among the civilians and maximize the losses of the terrorists and, so far, I think everything is going well,” he asserted.
The war broke out as Israel was in the process of rapprochement with Saudi Arabia. In Netanyahu’s view, the armed conflict has not torpedoed diplomatic momentum, and he predicted that the conditions would be “ripe” for the resumption of talks once Hamas is “destroyed”.
“I believe that the conditions will be met. In fact, after we win, I think they will be even more mature,” he asserted.
“Something that what we will not accept is a ceasefire. A cease-fire with Hamas would mean a surrender” and “there won’t be one” without the release of the hostages, the Israeli prime minister also said, answering a question about his talks with US President Joe Biden.
“But we agreed to create safe corridors“for the crossing of civilians from the northern to the southern part of the Gaza Strip, he added.
He tried to play down the impression made after statements he made days ago, assuring that his government has no intention of imposing a long-term occupation of the Gaza Strip.
“We do not seek to rule in Gaza. We do not seek to understand it, to impose occupation, but for it to obtain, like us, a better future”, he said. He added that he has no intention of “displacing anyone”, refuting scenarios of eviction of the enclave’s population.
Israel’s plan for the Gaza Strip
Asked what his plan is for the future of the Gaza Strip, he stressed that he would need a “reliable” force in the Palestinian enclave after the war with the Palestinian Islamist movement ends, to prevent risks to his country from happening again, such as he put it, an attack like that of October 7, the deadliest since the Jewish state’s 1948 attack.
According to the Israeli prime minister, the Palestinian enclave should be “demilitarized”, “de-radicalized” and “reconstructed”.
“We need to find a government, a political government that will be there,” he said, without clarifying who he thinks should form it. He insisted that “we will need a credible force that, if necessary, will go into Gaza and kill the killers. Because this will prevent the re-emergence of any entity like Hamas.”
Earlier this week, the Israeli prime minister’s statement that his country would assume “overall responsibility for security” in the Palestinian enclave “indefinitely” prompted a US backlash. A State Department spokesman said “we do not support the imposition of new occupation” by Israel in the Gaza Strip.
American officials believe that it is the Palestinian Authority that should take over the governance of the Gaza Strip after the war.
Hamas defeated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah in elections before expelling its forces from the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Palestinian officials, including Abbas, stress that for the Palestinian Authority to return to the Gaza Strip, there must be a broader Middle East solution.
The prime minister of the Abbas administration, Mohammed Stageh, told US broadcaster PBS this week that the Palestinian Authority has no intention of returning to the Gaza Strip “on an Israeli tank”.
The war in the Gaza Strip broke out on October 7, following an unprecedented attack by Hamas against Israel that killed 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, according to Israeli authorities. In Israel’s retaliatory operations, whose political and military leadership means to “annihilate” Hamas, at least 10,800 people have been killed, also the vast majority of them civilians, according to the Hamas Health Ministry.