Home International ‘Israel won’t agree to Gaza ceasefire unless…’: PM Netanyahu issues ultimatum

‘Israel won’t agree to Gaza ceasefire unless…’: PM Netanyahu issues ultimatum


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vetoed calls for a ceasefire yet again on Sunday as the war with Hamas neared the one month mark. The remarks came even as warplanes struck two refugee camps in the Gaza Strip and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

“There will be no ceasefire without the return of the hostages. This should be completely removed from the lexicon. We say this to our friends and to our enemies. We will simply continue until we defeat them. We have no alternative,” Reuters quoted him as telling officials at the Ramon air force base.

The assertion came little more than a day after Blinken urged Israel to temporarily stop its military offensive in order to allow entry of aid for Palestinians. The idea has however faced pushback from Israel. 

“I made clear that we are continuing full force and that Israel refuses a temporary ceasefire which does not include the release of our hostages,” Netanyahu had insisted in televised remarks soon after the meeting. 

Israel launched its offensive last month following a surprise attack by Hamas militants. Officials say that 1,400 people – mostly civilians – were killed in the October 7 clash, triggering the bloodiest escalation of the Israel-Palestine conflict in years. Retaliatory strikes and a ground offensive have reportedly killed nearly 10,000 people in the narrow Gaza Strip. 

Meanwhile evacuation of foreign nationals and injured Gazans through the Rafah crossing to Egypt has been suspended since Saturday following a deadly attack on an ambulance. The Israeli military said its planes bombed an ambulance that was identified as being used by Hamas militants that was in a “battle zone,” while a US official said Hamas had been trying to use the deal to evacuate some of its injured fighters.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 05 Nov 2023, 11:57 PM IST

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