Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed his commitment to continue the war on Gaza until Hamas is destroyed, dismissing global calls for a ceasefire.
“We are not stopping. The war will continue until the end, until we finish it, no less,” Netanyahu declared at a Likud Party meeting on Monday, 25 December.
He outlined three prerequisites for peace in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal: the destruction of Hamas, demilitarization of Gaza, and ‘deradicalization’ of Palestinian society.
The Israeli Prime Minister outlined plans for demilitarizing Gaza, proposing Israel’s continued security control, establishing a ‘temporary security zone’ around Gaza, and imposing border inspections. He dismissed the idea of Palestinian Authority governance, contrary to U.S. President Joe Biden’s suggestion.
Netanyahu, head of one of the most extreme governments in Israeli history, called for changes in leadership and school teachings to ‘deradicalize’ Palestinians in Gaza, referencing the deradicalization of the Germans and Japanese after World War II.
Meanwhile, Hamas and Islamic Jihad denied rejecting an Egyptian proposal for a permanent ceasefire in exchange for relinquishing power in Gaza, what Reuters reported Egyptian security sources told the media outlet on 25 December.
“There can be no negotiations without a complete stop to the aggression,” a member of Hamas’ political bureau, Izzat al-Rishq, later told Reuters.
“The Hamas leadership is aiming with all its might for a complete, not temporary, end to the aggression and massacres of our people,” he added.
The number of Palestinians killed by Israel continued to rise, with nearly 20,700 Gazans killed, including 250 in the last 24 hours.
In Iraq, the U.S. carried out retaliatory airstrikes after three U.S. military personnel were injured in attacks in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed militant groups, the White House said on 25 December.
Efforts for a truce continued, with Egypt proposing an ambitious plan involving a phased hostage release, a ceasefire, and the establishment of a Palestinian government of experts.
Pressure continues to grow on Israel as the war intensifies, with the international community urging Israel to minimize civilian harm. Concerns grow over the high and constantly mounting death toll in Gaza, most of whom are women and children.
THE CONFLICT SO FAR
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
Over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip — including nearly 8,000 children — and over 53,000 others injured. Meanwhile, at least 259 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and at least 3,365 have been injured.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been de-escalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least six times, and limited aid trucks have crossed to Gaza so far, which UN officials warn is insufficient amid dire humanitarian conditions.
Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire on 8 December, and the Security Council issued a resolution calling for unrestricted aid to Gaza on 18 December.