Monday, June 17, 2024

Israel says will not accept rule of Hamas in Gaza at any stage

Israel won’t accept Hamas’s rule of the Gaza Strip and is examining alternatives, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has stated, a further indication it’s brushing aside a ceasefire proposal announced by US President Joe Biden as Palestinian fighters continue to resist the invasion.

“While we conduct our important military actions, the defence establishment is simultaneously assessing a governing alternative to Hamas,” Gallant said in a statement on Sunday.

“We will isolate areas, remove Hamas operatives from these areas, and introduce forces that will enable an alternative government to form – an alternative that threatens Hamas,” Gallant added.

“On one hand, military action and on the other the ability to change the government. [This] will lead to the achievement of two of the goals of this war: the dismantling of the Hamas government and its military power, and the return of the hostages. We will not accept the rule of Hamas in Gaza at any stage in any process aimed at ending the war.”

Pressure is mounting on Israel’s government after Biden announced the proposal on Friday, saying it was an “Israeli” truce deal and urging Hamas to accept it. The group that has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 reacted “positively” to the US president’s statements.

Far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir have vowed to quit the Benjamin Netanyahu-led government if the ceasefire proposal is accepted.

Ophir Falk, Israel’s senior foreign policy adviser, stated Biden’s plan is a “deal we agreed to – it’s not a good deal, but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them”.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said if Hamas agrees to Biden’s ceasefire proposal to end the war, the United States expects Israel to also accept the plan.

“This was an Israeli proposal. We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal – as was transmitted to them, an Israeli proposal – then Israel would say ‘yes’,” Kirby said in an interview on the ABC News programme This Week.

More than 100,000 Israeli demonstrators took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday demanding that the Netanyahu-led coalition sign on to the truce proposal.

On Sunday, an Israeli official told US news outlet CBS that Netanyahu and his war cabinet have approved Biden’s ceasefire proposal and are awaiting Hamas’s response.

The official maintained that Netanyahu would not agree to a permanent ceasefire without fulfilling Israel’s war goals, including returning all Israeli captives held in Gaza and the “destruction” of Hamas and its capabilities.

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