Millennium Post (Kolkata)

‘Israel won’t accept Hamas’ demands after it rejected ceasefire proposal’


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday vowed to press ahead with Israel’s offensive and blasted a UN Security Council resolution calling for a pause in the fighting, saying it had emboldened Hamas to reject a separate proposal for a cease-fire and hostage release.

As the war in Gaza grinds through a sixth month, each side has publicly insisted that its own idea of victory is in reach and rejected internatio­nal efforts to stem the bloodshed.

Netanyahu has said Israel can achieve its aims of dismantlin­g Hamas and returning scores of hostages if it expands its ground offensive to the southern city of Rafah, where over half of Gaza’s population has sought refuge, many in crowded tent camps.

Hamas has said it will

hold onto the hostages until Israel agrees to a more permanent cease-fire, withdraws its forces from Gaza and releases hundreds of Palestinia­n prisoners, including top militants. It said late Monday that it has rejected a recent proposal that fell short of those demands which, if fulfilled, would allow it to claim an extremely costly victory.

Netanyahu said in a statement that the announceme­nt “proved clearly that Hamas is not interested in continuing negotiatio­ns toward a deal and served as unfortunat­e testimony to the damage of the Security Council decision”.

“Israel will not surrender to Hamas’ delusional demands and will continue to act to achieve all the goals of the

war: releasing all the hostages, destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabiliti­es and ensuring that Gaza will never again be a threat to Israel.”

The war has killed over 32,000 Palestinia­ns, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguis­h between civilians and combatants in its tally but says women and children make up about two-thirds of those killed. The fighting has left much of the Gaza Strip in ruins, displaced most its residents and driven a third of its population of 2.3 million to the brink of famine.

An Israeli strike late Monday on a residentia­l building in Rafah where three displaced families were sheltering killed at least 16 people, including nine children and four women, according to hospital records and relatives of the deceased. An Associated Press reporter saw the bodies arrive at a hospital.

On Monday, the Security Council finally managed to pass a resolution calling for a cease-fire as the United States abstained instead of vetoing the measure, angering Israel in a major escalation of tensions between the two close allies.

 ?? ?? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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