Israel’s Defense Minister Predicts Months-Long War with Hamas
Tel Aviv, Israel (AP) – Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defense minister, stated on Thursday that the destruction of Hamas will take months, indicating that the war will be prolonged. This comes as both Israel and the United States face growing international isolation and concern over the devastation caused by the campaign in Gaza.
Gallant’s remarks were made during a meeting between U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Israeli leaders, where they discussed a timeline for winding down major combat operations in Gaza. Despite criticism from the Biden administration regarding civilian casualties and the future of Gaza, the U.S. continues to provide military support and diplomacy to Israel.
Call for Stronger Action from the United States
Mohammed Shtayyeh, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, urged the United States to take a firmer stance against Israel, particularly in regards to postwar negotiations for a two-state solution. Shtayyeh’s call for action coincided with a meeting he and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had scheduled with Sullivan to discuss efforts for stability in the West Bank.
The Challenge of Defeating Hamas
A recent Hamas ambush on Israeli troops in Gaza City highlighted the group’s resilience and raised doubts about Israel’s ability to defeat them without completely wiping out the territory. The military campaign has resulted in significant damage to northern Gaza and forced 80% of the population to flee their homes, resulting in a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Gallant acknowledged that Hamas has spent over a decade building military infrastructure in Gaza, making it a difficult task to destroy them. He emphasized the need for time, stating that the process will last several months, but assured victory in the end.
Israel’s Determination to Achieve Victory
Following discussions with Sullivan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed unwavering determination to continue fighting until Hamas is eliminated. While the U.S. has mentioned a possible shift towards lower intensity operations in the near future, no specific timeline has been set.
President Joe Biden recently criticized Israel’s indiscriminate bombing, noting that it has led to a loss of international support. However, Israel has been informed by U.S. officials that time is running out to conclude major combat operations in Gaza without facing even greater international backlash.
Arrests and Heavy Civilian Toll
Amid ongoing fighting, the Palestinian telecommunications provider Paltel announced that all communication services in Gaza have been cut off, further isolating the territory from the outside world. Israeli troops continue to make arrests in northern Gaza as they search for Hamas fighters.
Israel’s air and ground assault, which was launched in response to Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, has resulted in the deaths of over 18,700 Palestinians. The majority of the casualties have been civilians, including women and children. The destruction and displacement caused by the campaign have created a dire humanitarian situation.
Rising Support for Hamas
Israel had hoped that the war and its hardships would turn Palestinians against Hamas, but recent polls have shown increased support for the militant group in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Many Palestinians view Hamas as a resistance against Israel’s occupation. On the other hand, Israelis remain strongly supportive of the war, believing it to be necessary for their security.
Read More of this Story at apnews.com – 2023-12-14 22:51:00
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