Friday, February 23, 2024

Benjamin Netanyahu on Israel’s future plans in Gaza: ‘I agree with Americans…’

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Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that those trying to tell him to rethink his decision of entering into Rafah were helping Hamas after international calls over military operations in the city. Israel, no matter what, will get the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah, he said in an interview.

Israel-Hamas War: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen. (AFP)

Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Those who say that under no circumstances should we enter Rafah are saying, lose the war, keep Hamas there. We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, but we’re going to do it, and in this, I agree with the Americans, while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave.”

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“Victory is within reach,” he said, criticising calls for Israel to avoid carrying out a military offensive inside Rafah.

“It’s part of our war effort to get civilians out of harm’s way; it’s part of Hamas’s effort to keep them in harm’s way,” he asserted.

What’s going on in Rafah amid Hamas war?

Nearly a million Palestinians have fled to Rafah- Gaza’s southernmost city- amid the conflict which began on October 7 last year. Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the military to plan evacuation from Rafah, his office said, ahead of an anticipated ground offensive. Rafah currently houses more than 1.3 million people, most of whom are living there amid war, according to the United Nations.

Israel’s war in Gaza has killed a total of 28,176 Palestinians while 67,784 have been injured since October 7, the Gaza health ministry said.

What world leaders have said on Israel’s Rafah plans?

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on social media platform X that “the people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air” as an Israeli offensive on Rafah would be a “humanitarian catastrophe in the making.”

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry warned of “very serious repercussions of storming and targeting” Rafah and called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting. UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he is “deeply concerned” as “the priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out.”

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