BLOG Israeli Defense Minister: Israel will stop the war only when all hostages are released

The war between Israel and Hamas - 171th day

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Detail from Rafa, Photo: Reuters
Detail from Rafa, Photo: Reuters
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.
Ažurirano: 25.03.2024. 21:55h
Finished
18: 47h

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said today during his visit to the US that Israel has no moral right to stop the war in Gaza until it returns all the hostages to their homes.

Galant said this before meetings with White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken following the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The US did not veto the resolution, as expected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but abstained.

"In my first meeting with national security adviser Jake Sullivan, I will make clear the importance of the collapse of the Hamas regime and the return of the hostages to their homes. We will act against Hamas everywhere, even in areas we have not been to. We will create an alternative to Hamas so that the Israel Defense Forces they can complete their mission," Minister Galant said, Israeli media reported.

He also added that if Israel does not achieve a "clear and absolute victory in Gaza" it could bring the war in the north closer, apparently alluding to the clashes with the Lebanese Hezbollah on Israel's northern border.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz also announced on Platform X that Israel will continue fighting until all the hostages are at home.

"We will not stop the fire. We will destroy Hamas and continue to fight until the last hostage comes home," Katz wrote.

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18: 04h

Today, the Palestinian Islamist Hamas welcomed the adoption of the United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, assessing that this confirms the readiness for an immediate exchange of prisoners on both sides, the agencies reported. Israeli media reports that Hamas thanked the UN Security Council for such a decision and called for a "permanent cease-fire that leads to the withdrawal of all Zionist forces from the Gaza Strip and the return of the displaced to the homes they left." The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said that the adopted resolution must be a turning point for ending the agony of the residents of the Gaza Strip. "We welcome your unity in calling for an immediate ceasefire. It must be a turning point. It must save lives. It must signal the end of this criminal attack against our people," the Palestinian ambassador said.

17: 59h

The cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced today, after the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, that the US decision not to veto is contradictory to that country's position throughout the war.

As assessed, the resolution supports a ceasefire without releasing the hostages and harms the war effort, Israeli media reported.

The statement added that the resolution gives hope to Hamas that international pressure will allow it to accept a ceasefire without releasing hostages.

Because of this attitude of the USA, Netanyahu decided to cancel the visit of a high Israeli delegation to Washington, planned for the end of this week.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby then said that the US was disappointed by Netanyahu's decision not to send a delegation to discuss a major invasion of Rafah, a city in the far south of Gaza, where about 1,4 million Palestinians have taken refuge from the conflict. .

"We are very disappointed that they will not come to Washington to allow us to have discussions about viable alternatives to the ground operation in Rafah," Kirby said at a press briefing, according to Israeli media.

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17: 11h

The spokesman for the National Security Council of the White House, John Kirby, said today that the US abstention in the vote on the resolution of the United Nations Security Council on the cease-fire in Gaza does not mean a change in US policy.

The US decided to abstain on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and Kirby said the country had been clear and consistent in its support for a ceasefire as part of the hostage deal, Israeli media reported.

The UN Security Council adopted that resolution today.

"There is no reason to see it as some kind of escalation. The reason for the restraint is that the text of the resolution does not condemn Hamas," Kirby said.

Kirby said the US "expects to be able to speak with the Israeli delegation later this week" about considering alternatives to a major ground offensive in Rafah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, immediately after the vote did what he announced and canceled the delegation's visit to Washington, due to the US's restraint.

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16: 48h

Today, the UN Security Council adopted the first resolution demanding an "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza, after more than five months of war between Israel and Hamas.

The call for a cease-fire has been blocked several times by the US, and now it has abstained.

The resolution, which was adopted with 14 votes "in favor" and one abstention, "demands an immediate ceasefire during the month of Ramadan", which began two weeks ago, and which should "lead to a permanent truce", reported France Press.

The resolution also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, but that demand is not linked to a ceasefire during Ramadan, which ends on April 9, the Associated Press notes.

More than 250 people were kidnapped on October 7 in attacks by Palestinian extremists from Gaza, led by Hamas, in southern Israel.

It is believed that around 130 hostages are still being held in Gaza, but it is known that not all of them are alive, Israeli media remind.

The Security Council resolution also "emphasizes the urgent need to expand the delivery of humanitarian aid and strengthen the protection of civilians in the Gaza Strip" and reiterates the request "for the removal of all obstacles to the provision of humanitarian aid."

Before the vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to cancel the planned visit of the Israeli delegation to Washington if the US did not veto the resolution, proposed by the ten elected members of the Council. He then did it.

The US vetoed three draft UNSC resolutions and also abstained twice.

This made it possible to pass resolutions aimed at increasing aid to Gaza and calling for a pause in the fighting.

China and Russia also vetoed two US draft resolutions in October and last Friday.

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15: 58h

Aid organizations visiting the overcrowded hospital in the Gaza Strip described the "unimaginable" situation there, with large open wounds untreated and chronic shortages of basic medical supplies, including surgical gauze and material to stabilize broken bones.

The three aid agencies organized a medical team that spent two weeks operating and treating patients at the European Gaza Hospital near Khan Yunis in the southern Strip.

The city has been the scene of fierce fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian extremists since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

The hospital's capacity of 200 was expanded to 1.000 beds, so that the hospital could receive patients from Nasser Hospital, the main one in Khan Yunis, which was raided by Israeli forces in February.

An estimated 22.000 people also took refuge in the European Gaza Hospital.

The surgeons who came to help also said that the lack of food was jeopardizing the treatment of patients.

A statement issued today said health workers were forced to evacuate or were unable to access the hospital, and that Israeli restrictions had led to a shortage of medical supplies.

Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals and other civilian buildings to hide its fighters, and thus explains the fact that since the beginning of the war, its forces have entered many health facilities.

Most hospitals in Gaza were forced to close their doors, even if dozens of people were killed in Israeli attacks.

The statement on the situation came as Israeli forces continue to attack two major hospitals in Gaza, including Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

More than 32.000 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive, and experts warn that even more are at risk of dying from disease and starvation.

The war began on October 7 when Palestinian extremists from Gaza, led by Hamas, breached the border fence and killed around 1.200 people in southern Israel and kidnapped and took more than 250 hostages.

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15: 06h

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said today that international opposition to Israel's ground invasion of the city of Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, is growing, with the assessment that it would cause a "humanitarian disaster".

During a visit to a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, Guterres reiterated his call for a ceasefire and the release of all hostages held by Hamas.

He said that the USA, European and Muslim countries appealed to Israel not to expand its land offensive to the Rafah.

At the press conference, Guterres said that "it is absolutely essential to preserve the lives of people in Gaza" and that the UN "insists on the need for a ceasefire".

"In the beginning, our voice was relatively lonely, but now we see that the international community is increasingly accepting it," added the UN Secretary General.

About 1,4 million Palestinians, mostly those who fled the conflict from other parts of Gaza, have taken refuge in the city on the border with Egypt.

Israel and Egypt are refusing to accept refugees and it is unclear where civilians could flee within the war-torn Palestinian territory, according to the Associated Press.

Israel claims that Hamas has four battalions with thousands of fighters in Rafah and that it cannot defeat the extremist organization without crushing them as well.

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11: 30h

The Israeli army killed dozens of people in new attacks in Gaza, Palestinian doctors said today, and its forces blocked two hospitals where they say Hamas militants are hiding, Reuters reports.

As Israel continued its offensive, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there was a growing international consensus to tell Israel that a ceasefire was necessary and that an attack on the town of Rafah would cause a humanitarian disaster.

Rafah, the last refuge for more than a million Palestinians on the Gaza Strip's southern border with Egypt, was among the towns that came under fire in the latest attacks.

Palestinian doctors said 30 people had been killed in the past 24 hours in Rafah, which has received large numbers of displaced Palestinians fleeing fighting elsewhere in Gaza after more than five months of war.

"Every bombardment that happens in Rafah, we fear tanks will come in. The past 24 hours have been one of the worst days since we moved into Rafah," said Abu Khaled, a father of seven, who declined to give his full name. for fear of retribution.

"In Rafah we live in fear, we are hungry, we are homeless and our future is unknown. With no ceasefire in sight, we could end up dead or displaced elsewhere, maybe to the north, maybe to the south (to Egypt)," he said Reuters.

Dozens of Palestinians took part in rallies and attended a funeral early this morning after an Israeli airstrike killed 18 Palestinians in a house in Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, Palestinian doctors and witnesses said.

Israeli forces also besieged Al-Amal and Nasser hospitals in the southern city of Khan Yunis, Palestinian witnesses said, a week after entering Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the main hospital in the Strip.

Israel says the Palestinian militant group Hamas is using Gaza hospitals as bases and has released videos and pictures to support the claim.

Hamas and medical personnel deny this and have not said whether any fighters were among those killed in the latest attacks.

The Israeli military said in a statement on Monday that its forces "continue to conduct precise operational activities in the Shifa hospital zone, while preventing harm to civilians, patients, medical teams and medical equipment."

Its forces are said to have arrested 500 people linked to Hamas and allied Islamic Jihad and located weapons in the area.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said hundreds of patients and medical staff were being held in Al Shifa.

The Israeli military also said its forces continued "precisely targeted attacks on terrorist infrastructure in Al-Amal" and that "20 terrorists were eliminated in the Al-Amal area during the past day in close combat and airstrikes."

Reuters was unable to access disputed hospital areas in Gaza and verify the claims of either side.

11: 25h

Today, China announced its support for a new draft resolution in the United Nations (UN) Security Council demanding an "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza.

The new draft resolution is being proposed a few days after China, as well as Russia, vetoed the US resolution proposal.

"China supports this draft resolution and welcomes the hard work of Algeria and other Arab countries in this regard," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said.

"We hope that the Security Council will approve it as soon as possible and send a strong signal for the cessation of hostilities," he added.

The vote, which was scheduled for Saturday, was postponed until today to avoid another setback.

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