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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Israel-Hamas war's intensive phase nears end, says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu’s remarks were the latest suggestion by senior Israeli officials that the war could soon enter a period of change

Isabel Kershner Jerusalem Published 25.06.24, 04:41 AM
Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu File image

The intensive phase of Israel’s war against Hamas is “about to end”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Sunday night interview on Israeli television, although he said that did not mean the conflict was coming to a close.

After the operation in Rafah, the Gaza’s Strip’s southernmost city and the latest focus of Israel’s ground offensive, Netanyahu said, Israel would keep “mowing the lawn” — a term long used in Israeli security circles to denote the use of force aimed at curtailing the regrowth of militant organisations.

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Netanyahu’s remarks were the latest suggestion by senior Israeli officials that the war could soon enter a period of change.

As Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant prepared to depart for an official visit to Washington on Saturday, he said his meetings with Biden administration officials would include discussion of “the transition to ‘Phase C’ in Gaza”, which he called “of great importance”.

Netanyahu suggested in the interview that a civilian administration would involve local Palestinians, hopefully with the help of moderate Arab nations. The Israeli military would have to maintain overall security control of the enclave, he said.

The Prime Minister continued to rule out a proposal that has been pushed by the US handing over Gaza to the western-backed Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in parts of the occupied West Bank.

To get to the “day after Hamas,” Netanyahu said, “first you have to eliminate Hamas” — reiterating his long-standing position that the armed group be fully eradicated, a goal that many experts say is unattainable. The Prime Minister’s remarks came in a 44-minute interview he granted The Patriots.

New York Times News Service

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