The Israeli prime minister reiterated: “No ceasefire without releasing hostages.” But he “opens” to pauses
Israel will have “overall responsibility for the security” of the Gaza Strip for “an indefinite period of time” after the end of the war against Hamas. This was stated by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in an interview with American TV ABC, granted after the new phone call with Joe Biden, one month after the Hamas attack according to the latest news of today 7 November. “I think – he explained – that for an indefinite period of time we will have the overall responsibility for security, because we have seen what happened now that we didn’t have it. When we don’t have the responsibility for security, we have an insurgence of terror at a level we couldn’t have imagined.”
Then he reiterated: “There will be no general ceasefire in Gaza without the release of our hostages.” And he reiterated that the belief that this “would hinder the war effort, would hinder our effort to free the hostages because the only thing that works with these Hamas criminals is the military pressure that we are applying.” Pressured in particular by US President Joe Biden, with whom he had a new telephone conversation yesterday, Netanyahu ‘opened’ for the first time to the hypothesis of humanitarian pauses. “We have already taken small breaks – an hour here, an hour there. We will check the circumstances in order to allow the entry of humanitarian goods or the exit of our hostages, individual hostages,” the prime minister said.
What US President Biden said
While calling for protection for Gaza civilians during Israel’s military operations in the Strip, the United States is preparing to send $320 million worth of precision bombs to the Jewish state. This is what Wall Street Journal sources revealed yesterday, explaining how on October 31 the Biden administration sent a formal notification to congressional leaders on the planned transfer to Israel of Spice Family Gliding Bomb Assemblies, a type of bomb precision weapons launched from aircraft.
The WSJ’s revelation came on the day in which, after more than a week of silence between the two, US President Joe Biden had a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. At the center of the discussion were United States support for the Jewish state, the protection of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip, the hostages still in the hands of Hamas and the problem of settlers in the West Bank.
In his phone call with the Israeli Prime Minister, US President Joe Biden “reaffirmed firm support for Israel and the protection of Israeli citizens from Hamas and other threats, while also underlining the imperative to protect Palestinian civilians and reduce civilian harm during military operations,” a White House statement said. “The two leaders – we read – discussed the possibility of tactical pauses to provide civilians with opportunities to safely leave areas of ongoing fighting, to ensure assistance to civilians in need and to allow the potential release of hostages”.
“The two leaders welcomed the increase in humanitarian assistance over the past week and discussed the need to significantly increase supplies, including the ability to increase the capacity to screen and organize more trucks into Gaza.” In his phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Biden “he also discussed the situation in the West Bank and the need to hold extremist settlers accountable for their violent acts.”
Furthermore, the American president and the Israeli prime minister “discussed ongoing efforts to obtain the release of hostages taken by Hamas, including many children and some American citizens”. Biden and Netanyahu, we read, “have agreed to speak again in the coming days”.
The US President’s administration will continue to press its Israeli counterparts for a humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip. This was stated by the spokesperson of the National Security Council, John Kirby, according to what ‘CNN’ reports. “We still believe in the value of temporary humanitarian pauses for specific purposes, to get things in and to get people out, including hostages,” Kirby stressed. “We still think there is value in that, and we will continue to advocate for that need and have that discussion, not only with Israel but with other partners in the region.”
The victims in Gaza
Meanwhile, the United States estimates that there are “thousands” of civilian deaths in Gaza, but cannot provide more specific data, explained Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder, quoted by CNN. Yesterday Hamas spoke of more than ten thousand Palestinians killed in Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip since 7 October. The Hamas Ministry of Health speaks of 10,022 deaths, including 4,104 children.
“No one in this administration questions that there have been deaths, that civilians have lost their lives in Gaza”, added the deputy spokesperson of the State Department, Vedant Patel, underlining however that the data from the Gaza Ministry of Health, controlled by Hamas, cannot be considered certain. “What we say is that this is a Hamas-run ministry, which just a few weeks ago unleashed a horrific terrorist attack in Israel, and which has a history of inflated and inaccurate casualty figures,” Patel continued, after Gaza authorities reported 10,000 civilian victims yesterday.