• Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Netanyahu’s Call To Hamas Fighters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a strong message to Hamas, urging its fighters to give up their weapons and surrender. In a recent statement, Netanyahu highlighted the surrender of numerous Hamas combatants in Gaza, considering it the beginning of the end for the terror group.

Netanyahu declared that while the conflict endures, this moment signifies the beginning of Hamas’s decline. He urged Hamas members not to sacrifice themselves for their leader, Yahya Sinwar, emphasizing that it was time to surrender and not risk their lives for Sinwar’s cause.

Netanyahu’s plea came amidst escalating tensions on the northern border and mounting calls for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, including appeals from Russia and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The US Expects End To Conflict By January

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has opined that it’s Israel’s responsibility to establish the timeline for the war. Speaking to CNN, he emphasized that there was a collective desire for the conflict to end swiftly.

Blinken mentioned that any nation confronted with a situation similar to Israel’s, facing a terrorist organization like Hamas, which carried out a particularly horrific attack on October 7 and repeatedly vowed to do so again, must reach a point of certainty that such actions won’t recur. However, he stressed the need for Israel to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza while aiming to dismantle Hamas and facilitate humanitarian aid access.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Criticism

Furthermore, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, stated at the Doha Forum that his country strongly denounced the October 7 attack, which triggered the Gaza conflict. This attack by Hamas led to the loss of more than 1,200 lives and the capture of approximately 250 hostages.

Hamas claims that around 17,000 Palestinians have died due to the violence linked to the Gaza war. In contrast, Israel stated that among those casualties, approximately 7,000 were Hamas militants.

Lavrov highlighted the UN Security Council’s effort to conclude a resolution advocating for a humanitarian ceasefire on Friday. He mentioned that the US vetoed the resolution, which received support from 13 of 15 UNSC members, including Russia.

Lavrov opined that the resolution should have been passed already and criticized Washington for its mistake in blocking it. The Russian minister added that Americans tend to engage in a “cancel culture,” erasing aspects of history or events they dislike.

He emphasized that the unresolved status of the Palestinian state is the most significant factor fueling extremism in the Middle East. When asked if his criticism of Israel was hypocritical considering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lavrov didn’t provide a direct response. He left it to the reporter interviewing him at the Doha Forum stage.

According to a Kremlin statement, Putin has assured Netanyahu of Russia’s readiness to offer any necessary aid to alleviate civilian suffering and de-escalate the conflict.

UN Advocacy For Ceasefire

During the Doha Forum, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reaffirmed his commitment to pursuing a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. He vowed to persist in his efforts, saying, “I promise not to give up.”

As part of his commitment to end the conflict, Guterres invoked Article 99, prompting the UNSC to vote on a ceasefire resolution, marking the first use of this mechanism since 1989. Guterres expressed deep concern over the UN Security Council’s inability to approve a ceasefire resolution, stating that it significantly diminishes the Council’s credibility.

He highlighted the absence of adequate civilian protection in Gaza, stating that the unprecedented number of civilian casualties within a short period is alarming.

Netanyahu’s Displeasure With Resolutions

During his discussions with Putin, Netanyahu expressed dissatisfaction with Russia’s support for a ceasefire resolution that didn’t condemn Hamas’s previous attack. Netanyahu conveyed to Putin that any nation facing a criminal terrorist attack similar to what Israel endured would respond with equal or even greater force than Israel’s ongoing operation.

Nevertheless, the prime minister expressed gratitude to Putin for Russia’s role in the recent release of 105 hostages from Gaza last month. However, he highlighted that 137 hostages remain in captivity.

Netanyahu assured the Russian president that Israel is committed to deploying all available methods, both political and military, to secure the release of all abductees. Netanyahu requested Putin’s assistance in urging the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the captives held in Gaza.

Concerns Over Iranian-Backed Threats

Netanyahu acknowledged international support and thanked the Biden administration for backing Israel at the UN and providing essential military supplies. Additionally, he criticized Moscow’s collaboration with Tehran, highlighting that the Iranian-backed Houthi group added to tensions by issuing restrictions on ships bound for Israeli ports in response to the Gaza conflict.

Their move prompted international concern over the safety of maritime routes. As the conflict continues, Netanyahu remains firm in his stance on the importance of unity and Israel’s right to defend itself against threats.