Netanyahu doubles down on Gaza future

The Israeli PM has ruled out the possibility of the Palestinian Authority controlling Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Hamas already lost all control of the northern Gaza Strip, and that once the war ends his country will maintain “security control” to ensure no new authority educates its children to “hate Israel.”

“There is no substitute for victory. We will eliminate Hamas and save our hostages,” Netanyahu said during a Saturday night press conference in Tel Aviv. “The IDF has completed the encirclement of Gaza City. They are on the outskirts of Shifa Hospital and have killed a lot of terrorists.”

“Hamas has lost control in the north of the Gaza Strip,” he claimed. “They have no safe place to hide. Until the last of the terrorists, all of Hamas, are dead.”

“We will not stop until the mission is completed,” the Israeli leader stated, reassuring the families of the fallen Israeli soldiers that “we are doing everything to be worthy of their sacrifice and heroism.”

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Netanyahu previously unveiled his long-term plan for Gaza on Thursday, saying Israel would ensure that the territory no longer presents a threat to the Jewish state. “What we have to see is Gaza demilitarized, deradicalized and rebuilt,” he said, adding “We don’t seek to conquer Gaza. We don’t seek to occupy Gaza. And we don’t seek to govern Gaza.”

The prime minister explained that no matter who governs Gaza after the war, Israel would need to establish a force that could “enter Gaza and kill the killers” at any time, to “prevent the emergence of another Hamas-like entity.” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also previously said Israeli forces would establish a “new security reality” in the area, but emphasized that the IDF would not be responsible for “day-to-day life in the Gaza Strip.”

On Saturday, Netanyahu also dismissed the possibility of the Palestinian Authority taking control of Gaza after the war, insisting that the “will not be a civil authority there that educates their children to hate Israel, to kill Israelis, or to eliminate Israel.”

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“There cannot be an authority who didn’t condemn the massacre. There will have to be something else, but in any case our security control. I stand by it and don’t intend to give up,” he said.

Israel has launched an unprecedented military bombardment of the densely-populated Gaza enclave in retaliation for Hamas’ assault on its territory last month. Israeli officials said on Friday that about 1,200 of its citizens – mostly civilians – died in the attack, revising downwards its prior estimates.

In excess of 11,000 people have died in more than four weeks of artillery and airstrikes in Gaza, Palestinian health officials have said, with about 40% of them children.

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