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The war between Israel and Hamas: Netanyahu says that operations in Gaza are declining

The war between Israel and Hamas: Netanyahu says that operations in Gaza are declining

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu He said Sunday that the current stage of the fight against agitation The situation in Gaza is deteriorating, paving the way for Israel to send more troops to its northern border to confront the Lebanese armed group. Hizb allah.

These statements threatened to escalate tensions between Israel and Hezbollah at a time when they appear to be approaching war. Netanyahu also indicated that there is no end in sight to the brutal war in Gaza.

The Israeli leader said in a lengthy television interview that while the army is close to completing its current ground offensive in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, that does not mean The war against Hamas I finish. But he said fewer troops would be needed in Gaza, allowing the forces to fight Hezbollah.

“We will have the possibility of moving some of our forces north, and we will do that,” he told Israel’s Channel 14, a pro-Netanyahu television channel, in an interview that was often interrupted by applause from the studio audience. “First and foremost, for defense,” he added, but also to allow tens of thousands of displaced Israelis to return to their homes.

Iran-backed Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the October 7 cross-border Hamas attack that sparked the Gaza war. Israel and Hezbollah have exchanged fire almost daily since then, but fighting has escalated in recent weeks, raising fears of an all-out war.

Hezbollah is much stronger than Hamas, and opening a new front would increase the risk of a larger, region-wide war involving other Iranian proxies and perhaps Iran itself, which could cause severe damage and mass casualties on both sides of the border.

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White House envoy Amos Hochstein was in the region last week to meet with officials in Israel and Lebanon in an attempt to reduce tensions. But the fighting continued.

Netanyahu said he hoped to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis but pledged to solve the problem “in a different way” if necessary. “We can fight on several fronts and we are ready to do so,” he said.

He said that any agreement would not be just an “agreement on paper.” He said that this would require Hezbollah to be far from the border and an implementation mechanism for the Israelis to return to their homes. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated shortly after the fighting broke out and were unable to return to their homes.

Hezbollah said it would continue fighting against Israel until a ceasefire was reached in Gaza. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, warned Israel last week against waging war, saying Hezbollah It has new weapons and intelligence capabilities This could help it target more important locations deep inside Israel.

Hezbollah has already unveiled new weapons during low-level fighting, including hard-to-defend attack drones that strike without warning. An Israeli soldier was seriously injured on Sunday in a drone strike.

But Israel says that it has also shown Hezbollah only a small portion of its full capabilities, and that Lebanon will turn into a second Gaza if war breaks out. The Israeli army said last week that it had “approved and approved” a new plan to launch an attack on Lebanon.

Netanyahu said in the interview that the Israeli attack on Gaza has begun to subside. The Israeli army is conducting operations in the southern border town Rafah Since early May. It says it inflicted severe damage on Hamas in Rafah, which it identifies as Hamas’s last remaining stronghold after a brutal war that lasted nearly nine months. But he said Israel would have to continue “sniping” operations — targeted strikes aimed at preventing Hamas from regrouping.

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Israel launched its air and ground invasion of Gaza immediately after the Hamas attack on October 7, which killed about 1,200 people and took about 250 others hostage.

The Israeli attack led to the death of more than 37,000 Palestinians, caused a humanitarian crisis and led to the commission of war crimes and genocide. cases In the world’s highest courts in The Hague.

It also raised tensions with the United States and with the president Joe Biden Netanyahu clashes publicly over the course of the war. Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu once again repeated his words Claim That there has been a “significant decline” in arms shipments from the United States, Israel’s closest ally, hampering the war effort.

Biden is late in delivering Some heavy bombs since May over fears of heavy civilian casualties, but his administration last week hit back against Netanyahu’s accusations that other shipments were also affected.

Although the United States and other mediators are pressing for a ceasefire plan, Netanyahu has ruled out ending the war until Israel releases all hostages held by Hamas and until Hamas’s military and governance capabilities are destroyed.

Netanyahu said that the current phase of the war is “about to end.” “This does not mean that the war is about to end.”

Netanyahu spoke while his Defense Minister Yoav Galant was in Washington for talks with American officials regarding the war and tensions with Lebanon. Next month, Netanyahu is invited to address Congress for a speech that is already dividing Washington along partisan lines. Some Democrats, angry at the public spat between Netanyahu and Biden, say They won’t come.

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US officials are also pressing Netanyahu to articulate a clear post-war plan in Gaza. The United States said it would not accept long-term Israeli occupation of the territories.

Netanyahu put forward a completely different vision. He said that the only way to guarantee Israel’s security was for Israel to maintain military control over the region.

“There’s no one else” capable of doing this, he added. But he said he was seeking to find a way to establish a Palestinian “civil administration” to manage day-to-day affairs in Gaza, and he hoped this would be supported by moderate Arab countries. He ruled out any role for the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, which was ousted from Gaza by Hamas in a violent attack in 2007.

Netanyahu said that several months ago the Israeli army considered working with prominent Palestinian families in Gaza, but Hamas immediately “destroyed” them. He said that Israel is now considering other options.

Netanyahu ruled out one of the options favored by some of his ultra-nationalist ruling partners, which is resettling Israelis in Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, ending a 38-year presence.

He said: “The settlement issue is not realistic.” “I am realistic.”