Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has categorically ruled out a ceasefire in Gaza, emphasizing that the military operation against Hamas is ongoing and describing the Israeli army's performance as "exceptionally well." Speaking to Fox News, Netanyahu asserted that a ceasefire with Hamas would equate to surrender, and there is no specified timetable for concluding the military offensive.
Netanyahu clarified that Israel does not intend to reoccupy Gaza in the long term. Despite the ongoing conflict, he stated, "We don't seek to govern Gaza. We don't seek to occupy it, but we seek to give it and us a better future." He emphasized the need for Gaza to be "demilitarized, deradicalized, and rebuilt," outlining a vision for a future civilian government in the territory without specifying the details.
Addressing concerns about potential disruptions to diplomatic efforts, particularly with Saudi Arabia amid progressing peace talks, Netanyahu expressed confidence that the conflict would not derail the diplomatic momentum. He suggested that conditions for negotiations would be "ripe" after the destruction of Hamas, and he anticipated even more favorable circumstances for diplomatic discussions post-victory.
The conflict escalated on October 7, with Israel vowing to destroy Hamas following an incursion from Gaza. The subsequent retaliatory actions, including aerial bombings and ground offensives, have resulted in a significant loss of life, with over 10,800 casualties in Gaza, predominantly civilians, including many children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Netanyahu underscored Israel's commitment to preventing the reemergence of a Hamas-like entity, necessitating readiness to reenter Gaza and "kill the killers."
In summary, Netanyahu's stance underscores a commitment to the ongoing military operation, a rejection of a ceasefire with Hamas, and a vision for Gaza's future centered on demilitarization, deradicalization, and reconstruction, with the goal of establishing a civilian government.