At a press conference, a defiant Mr. Netanyahu pledged to continue the offensive in Gaza “until complete victory”—that is, the destruction of Hamas and the release of the Israeli hostages—while also acknowledging that it might take “many more months”.
With 85% of the population of the Gaza Strip displaced and nearly 25,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, Israel is under tremendous pressure to halt its offensive and hold substantive negotiations over a long-term solution to the conflict.
There have been calls for the long-dormant “two-state solution” to be revived, in which an Israeli state and a future Palestinian state would coexist. This has come from both Israel’s allies, such as the US, and many of its adversaries.
Many people believe that the current crisis has the potential to drive the warring parties back to negotiations, which is the only practical way to end the never-ending cycle of violence. However, it seems from Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks that the opposite is his intention.
He stated at the news conference on Thursday that Israel needs to maintain security control over all territory west of the Jordan River, including any future state that may be formed by the Palestinians.
“This is an essential requirement that goes against the notion of (Palestinian) sovereignty. How should one proceed? He said, “I stopped the attempt to impose a reality on us that would harm Israel’s security, and I tell this truth to our American friends.”
100 days after the horrific war began due to an unimaginable attack
Israel-Palestinian hostility intensified by the war and Hamas attack
Since Mr. Netanyahu has devoted a significant portion of his political career to opposing Palestinian statehood—he even boasted last month that he was proud to have stopped its creation—his most recent statements are not shocking.
However, the chasm between Israel and its western allies is growing as evidenced by the openly expressed rejection of Washington’s diplomatic push and determination to continue with the current military course.
The United States of America has backed Israel’s right to self-defense ever since the deadliest attacks in its history on October 7, when Hamas gunmen killed roughly 1,300 Israelis and kidnapped another 240.
However, as the number of fatalities in Gaza has increased and horrific scenes have multiplied, Western governments have demanded that Israel exercise restraint.
The White House has made several attempts to sway Israel’s military strategy, including pushing for the use of precision-guided weaponry instead of widespread airstrikes, opposing a ground invasion, and advocating for a two-state solution that includes the Palestinian Authority in a post-conflict Gaza.