Benjamin Netanyahu visited Gaza and assured that the war against Hamas “is nowhere near over”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (I/ PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE)

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahuvisited the northern Gaza Strip this Monday and told troops that the war against the terrorist Hamas will continue “until the end.”

I just returned from Gaza; I met a division of reservists in the field”he told his faction. “They all asked me for one thing: We must not stop.; we must continue until the end,” he said, referring to the IDF war against Hamas in Gaza.

His comments come as Egypt makes an ambitious proposal to end the war.

We are not going to stop. We are going to continue fighting and we are going to expand the fight in the coming days”said Netanyahu in statements to members of his Likud party. “It will be a long battle and it is nowhere near over.“, he indicated, in a veiled reference to Egypt’s proposal for a two-week ceasefire, which both Israel and Hamas appear to have rejected.

Hamas conditions any new hostage-for-prisoner exchange agreement on a permanent ceasefire, an option that Israel rejects because it is determined to continue the war until the Islamist group is destroyed.

Netanyahu was briefed on the amount of ammunition, weaponry and tunnel openings by troops from the 261st Brigade, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Netanyahu on a visit to Gaza in November
Netanyahu on a visit to Gaza in November (Europa Press/Contact/Avi Ohayon/)

“I am here with you in the northern Gaza Strip and I am unusually impressed (…) We are proud of you and we trust you. We see the determination and the desire to continue until the end,” he indicated.

Netanyahu’s visit inside the enclave, the second since the war began, coincides with the eightieth day of fighting and with the first message from Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who stated that this is a “ferocious, violent and unprecedented battle.” ” against Israel.

Booed speech

Families of Israeli hostages held by Islamist commandos in Gaza They interrupted a speech by Netanyahu when he stated before Parliament that he needed “more time” to fulfill his promise to rescue the captives.

Now! Now!“, cried the relatives when the nationalist leader explained that the Israeli forces needed “more time” to free the 129 hostages, of the approximately 240 initially, who were taken to Gaza after the bloody incursion of Islamist commandos in the south of Israel on October 7.

A week-long truce in late November allowed the release of 105 hostages, 80 of whom were exchanged for 240 Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails.

“What if it was your son?”, “80 days, every minute is hell,” could be read on the banners raised by the families in Parliament, which held a special session dedicated to the hostages.

Demonstration by relatives of hostages (Reuters)
Demonstration by relatives of hostages (Reuters) (AMMAR AWAD/)

Assuring not to “spare any effort” to achieve his release, Netanyahu assured that this would only be possible if “military pressure” was maintained.

The Israeli leader explained that he spoke with military commanders on the ground and they told him that they needed “more time.”

“We cannot stop the war until we have achieved victory against those who attack our lives,” he declared. “We will not stop until victory.”

Egyptian proposal

The Egyptian proposal is an ambitious initiative not only to end the war, but also to draw up a plan for the future.

It calls for an initial ceasefire of up to two weeks, during which Palestinian militants would release 40 to 50 hostages, including women, the elderly and the sick, in exchange for the release of 120 to 150 Palestinians from Israeli prisons, according to the official. Egyptian. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a negotiation still underway.

Israeli soldiers advance through Khan Younis (IDF)
Israeli soldiers advance through Khan Younis (IDF) (Israel Defense Forces/)

At the same time, negotiations would continue on extending the truce and the release of more hostages and bodies held by Palestinian terrorists, he said.

Egypt and Qatar would also work with all Palestinian factions, including Hamas, to agree on the formation of a government of experts, he noted.. That government would administer the Gaza Strip and the West Bank during a transitional period while Palestinian factions resolve their disputes and agree on a roadmap for holding presidential and parliamentary elections, he added.

Meanwhile, Israel and Hamas would continue negotiating a global agreement. That would include the release of all other hostages in exchange for all Palestinian prisoners in Israel, as well as the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza and Palestinian militants stopping rocket fire into Israel. Nearly 8,000 Palestinians are held by Israel on convictions or security-related charges, according to Palestinian figures.

Egyptian officials discussed the rudiments of the plan with Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas, who lives in Qatar and visited Cairo last week. They also planned to discuss it with the leader of the Islamic Jihad group, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, who arrived in the city on Sunday, the official said.

The armed group, which also took part in the Oct. 7 attack, said it was willing to consider handing over hostages only once the fighting ended.

For his part, a Western diplomat said he was aware of the Egyptian proposal. But the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, doubted that Netanyahu and his hardline government would accept the entire proposal. The diplomat did not give further details.

(With information from AFP, EFE, AP)