May 31, 2024

Israel PM insists Gaza war will not end until ‘elimination’ of Hamas

Israel PM insists Gaza war will not end until ‘elimination’ of Hamas

Smoke billows following Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 31, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday the Gaza war would not end until the “elimination” of Hamas’s capacity to govern and make war, after US President Joe Biden said Israel had offered a new peace roadmap.

“The prime minister authorised the negotiating team to present an outline for achieving (the return of hostages), while insisting that the war will not end until all of its goals are achieved, including the return of all our hostages and the elimination of Hamas’ military and governmental capabilities,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

“The exact outline proposed by Israel, including the conditional transition from stage to stage, allows Israel to maintain these principles,” it added.

In his first major address outlining a solution to the eight-month conflict, Biden said the proposal started with a six-week phase that would see Israeli forces withdraw from all populated areas of Gaza.

“It’s time for this war to end, for the day after to begin,” Biden said in a televised address from the White House, adding that “we can’t lose this moment” to seize the chance for peace.

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,284 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.