Netanyahu’s No Full Palestinian State Stance
In a video message released on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood firm on his commitment to Israeli security control over all territory west of the Jordan River, rejecting the White House’s vision of a two-state solution. Earlier, the Biden administration called for a winding down of the conflict with Hamas and a pathway toward a two-state solution.
However, Netanyahu doubled down on his stance against allowing a full-fledged, militarized Palestinian state to emerge. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to stand firm on the principle of complete Israeli security control over all territory west of the Jordan River throughout his term. Nevertheless, he didn’t dismiss all potential forms of Palestinian statehood.
Netanyahu’s Plans to Release Hostages, Rejects Surrender Terms
Meanwhile, the prime minister provided updates regarding the release of hostages held in Gaza. Netanyahu disclosed that he rejected Hamas’s demands for a surrender, stating that Israel would achieve “total victory,” and ensure that no entity in Gaza would finance terrorism or advocate for it.
Besides demanding the demilitarization of Gaza under Israel’s complete security control, Netanyahu emphasized the need for stringent measures to ensure stability in the region. There have been reports of a comprehensive plan involving combined efforts of the US, Qatar, and Egypt to end the war, release hostages, and pave the way for talks on a Palestinian state.
The prime minister disclosed that in return for releasing hostages, Hamas is demanding the war’s cessation, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the release of all individuals associated with the Nukhba forces, and allowing Hamas to remain intact. However, he opposed those terms, stating that agreeing to these terms would jeopardize the IDF’s sacrifices, compromise citizens’ security, impede the safe return of evacuees, and pave the way for future instability.
Netanyahu further mentioned that he clearly communicated Israel’s position on this matter to Biden during their conversation over the weekend. Meanwhile, defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced an expansion of the IDF’s ground offensive in southern Gaza to defeat Hamas and ensure the return of hostages.
After a flight over the Strip with the Israeli Air Force’s 100th Squadron, he mentioned that the heavy smoke from artillery, tanks, and Air Force aircraft would persist in covering the skies of the Gaza Strip until achieving goals, primarily the defeat of Hamas and the return of hostages to their homes.
Evidence of Hostage Torture
In a recent operation in the southern Gaza Strip, the IDF uncovered a tunnel where hostages held by the Hamas terror group endured harsh and inhumane conditions. The discovery was made beneath the home of a Hamas commander in Khan Younis, following smart intelligence reports gathered by IDF soldiers.
The tunnel, revealed to foreign media outlets before its destruction, indicated that about 20 individuals were held at different times in the narrow cells, each equipped with a mattress and a toilet. The challenging conditions included dense air with limited oxygen, high humidity (making breathing difficult), and a lack of daylight.
Though the tunnel was empty when the soldiers arrived, some hostages had left recently. A piece of evidence was drawings by a five-year-old former captive named Emilia Aloni. They also discovered five narrow holding cells further into the tunnel.
Daniel Hagari, the IDF Spokesman, stated that Hamas had invested millions of dollars in constructing the tunnel network, illustrating the gravity of the situation. The IDF continues its operational activity, employing technology, special units, and several resources to ensure the return of the Israelis held captive by Hamas.
Nevertheless, the situation remains complex, with ongoing military operations and diplomatic efforts shaping the path forward. Netanyahu’s unwavering stance on security control sets the stage for continued negotiations and potential challenges in achieving a resolution acceptable to all parties involved.