Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his firm stance against the increasing international calls for a cease-fire, emphasizing that Israel will continue its efforts to crush Hamas militants in Gaza with unwavering determination.
In a televised address, Netanyahu stated that a cease-fire could only be considered if all 239 Israeli hostages held by the militants in Gaza were released. Furthermore, the Israeli leader emphasized that Gaza would be demilitarized and Israel would maintain security control over the region once the war, which has now entered its sixth week, concludes.
When questioned about the meaning of security control, Netanyahu clarified that Israeli forces must have the freedom to enter Gaza without restrictions in order to apprehend militants.
Netanyahu also dismissed the notion that the Palestinian Authority, which currently governs autonomous areas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, would eventually assume control over Gaza.
These positions contradict the post-war scenarios proposed by Israel’s closest ally, the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed the U.S.’s opposition to an Israeli reoccupation of Gaza and envisions a unified Palestinian government in both Gaza and the West Bank as a step towards achieving Palestinian statehood.
For now, Netanyahu said, “the war against (Hamas) is advancing with full force, and it has one goal, to win. There is no alternative to victory.”
Pressure was growing on Israel after frantic doctors at Gaza’s largest hospital said the last generator had run out of fuel, causing the death of a premature baby, another child in an incubator and four other patients. Thousands of war-wounded, medical staff and displaced civilians were caught in the fighting.
The escalation of fighting in northern Gaza has resulted in a shortage of supplies and intensified clashes near Shifa and other hospitals. The Israeli military has accused Hamas of using hospitals as command posts and endangering civilians, although no evidence has been provided.
However, the medical staff at Shifa hospital has refuted these claims and instead blamed Israel for causing harm to innocent civilians through indiscriminate attacks. In addition to these challenges, Shifa hospital also experienced a power outage on Saturday, further exacerbating the situation.
“Medical devices stopped. Patients, especially those in intensive care, started to die,” he said by phone, with gunfire and explosions in the background. He said Israeli troops were “shooting at anyone outside or inside the hospital” and prevented movement between buildings.
The World Health Organization later said it lost communication with its contacts at Shifa, according to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The clashes outside the hospital have been confirmed by Israel’s military, however, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari has denied that Shifa is under siege. He assured that troops will be providing assistance on Sunday to relocate the babies who are being treated there. He also mentioned that there is direct and regular communication with the hospital staff.
Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, stated in an interview with broadcaster Channel 12 that in order to crush Hamas, it would be crucial for Israel to gain control of the hospitals.
However, he emphasized the need for a great deal of tactical creativity to ensure that patients, other civilians, and Israeli hostages are not harmed. According to spokesmen from the Hamas-run Health Ministry, six patients, including two children, lost their lives at Shifa after the generator malfunctioned and shut down.
The “unbearably desperate situation” at Shifa must stop now, the International Committee of the Red Cross director general, Robert Mardini, said on social media. U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths posted that “there can be no justification for acts of war in health care facilities.”