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Netanyahu remains defiant amid mounting pressure for ceasefire

todayDecember 18, 2023 30

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Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, has again dismissed any possibility of a two-state solution in the impasse with Palestine.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says Israel will continue to fight until he eliminates Hamas, frees all hostages and ensure that Gaza will never again become “a centre for terrorism.”

His utterances come as international pressure mounts with calls for a pause in the fighting and to do more to protect the lives of civilians.

World powers have called on Israel to halt the bombing of the Gaza Strip and consider the rising civilian death toll and destruction of hospitals in the Palestinian territory, as it pressed on with its war against Hamas militants.

In a news conference, Netanyahu again dismissed any possibility of a two-state solution and insisted Israel will have enduring security control in Gaza.

Israel has been bombing Gaza since the October 7 deadly attack by Hamas, where according to revised figures – about 1  100 Israelis were killed and about 250 others kidnapped.

In retaliation, Israel has killed more that 18 000 Palestinians, with more reportedly killed in airstrikes over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition in the Israeli parliament, has called for new elections in the country amid the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

Lapid, who leads the centrist Yesh Atid party in Israel, has been vocal about the situation in Gaza – adding that he thinks it is time for new leadership.

“[Benjamin] Netanyahu cannot continue as prime minister,” he said, adding that “elections can be held during the war.”

This is the first time for an Israeli opposition leader to call for holding fresh elections amidst the Middle East conflict.

United Nations’ call

The United Nations has called for another Security Council meeting to vote on a new resolution, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The call comes days after the US blocked a previous resolution that would have called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

Meanwhile at the UN General Assembly which was held last Tuesday, 153 of the 193 member states voted for a ceasefire. Ten countries voted against the motion, including the United States and Israel, while 23 abstained.

The United Nations estimates that 1.9 million Gaza residents have been displaced by the war and people are also struggling with shortages of fuel, food, water and medicine.

The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, says the world should rethink their values as the war continues.

“The fact that people can laugh, cheer and mock any type of wrongdoing that we observe in this war, when in fact what is happening in Gaza should outrage anyone, should make us all rethink our values.”

“I would not be surprised if people start dying of hunger, or a combination of hunger, disease, weak immunity,” he said.

WHO slams attacks on hospitals

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also weighed in on the matter, denouncing the impact of Israeli operations on two hospitals in Gaza.

WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says the agency is “appalled by the effective destruction” of the Kamal Adwan Hospital. The Israeli army pulled out of the hospital yesterday after an operation lasting several days, with the Israeli Defence Force saying the facility had been used as a command and control centre by Hamas.

Another Israeli strike also yesterday, hit Nasser hospital in southern Gaza’s main city of Khan Yunis, killing one person and injuring seven others, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

The ministry alleges that Israeli forces stormed Al Awda Hospital in northern Gaza and detained medical staff, following several days of siege and bombing.

The organisation says the continued attack on health facilities in Gaza is continuing to place the lives of patients in critical danger, as they lack supplies, such as drinking water and food.

Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris

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