Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday again rejected the growing international appeal for a ceasefire in Gaza. He said Israel’s fight to crush Hamas extremists ruling the Gaza Strip will continue with “full force”. In a televised address, Netanyahu made it clear that a cease-fire is possible only if 239 people held hostage by militants in Gaza are released. He stressed that Gaza would be demilitarized after the war and Israel would maintain its security control over the territory. This stance contrasts with the views expressed by Israel’s closest ally, the United States, regarding post-war scenarios.
The US had said that it opposes the re-occupation of the area by Israel. Asked what he meant by security controls, Netanyahu said Israeli forces should be able to enter Gaza when necessary to capture militants. Doctors at Gaza’s largest hospital said a premature baby, a baby in an incubator and four other patients had died after the territory’s last generator ran out of fuel. After this statement of the doctors, the pressure on Israel for ceasefire is increasing. Thousands of war-injured people, medical workers and displaced civilians are trapped in the war zone.
Hamas terrorists are shielding civilians
Israel has portrayed Shifa hospital as Hamas’ main command post, saying militants are using civilians there as shields and have built bunkers beneath it. However, this claim has been denied by Hamas as well as the Shifa administration. In recent days, fighting has intensified near Shifa and other hospitals in northern Gaza, disrupting essential supplies there. “There is no electricity,” Shifa director Mohammed Abu Selmiya said, speaking by phone amid the sounds of gunfire and explosions. Medical equipment has stopped. Patients, especially those in intensive care units, have started dying
These allegations are being leveled against Israeli soldiers
Abu Selmiya said Israeli soldiers were ‘shooting anyone outside or inside the hospital’ and had blocked movement between buildings in the complex. The Israeli military confirmed a clash outside the hospital, but Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari denied that Shifa was under siege. He said that the soldiers will help in transferring the babies being treated at Shifa on Sunday. Hagari claimed, “We are talking directly and regularly with the hospital staff.” Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israel’s military intelligence, told ‘Channel 12’ that since Israel’s goal is to crush Hamas. While maintaining control of hospitals will be important, it will also require “a lot of strategic creativity” to ensure that patients, other civilians and Israeli hostages are not harmed. (AP)
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