Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel would not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and would press ahead with its plans to wipe out the group, Reuters reports.
Netanyahu said all wars have unintended civilian casualties and Israel’s assault on Gaza, which Hamas controls, was a battle between “civilisation and barbarism,” calling on allies to back Israel.
At a news conference in Tel Aviv Netanyahu’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and his Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer also addressed journalists.
Dermer said Israel’s coordination with the United States in its fight with Hamas was “unprecedented in history” and that its relationship with Russia was complicated.
Gallant said that in the occupied West Bank, only the Israeli army and police were authorised to use force.
Speaking in English, Netanyahu says it is time “to decide if we are willing to fight for a future of hope and promise, or surrender to tyranny and terror”.
“Just as the United States would not agree to a ceasefire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack of 911, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of October 7.
“Calls for a ceasefire are a call for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.
“The Bible says that there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war,” he added.
In the same vein, US expressed that it does not believe a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is currently “the right answer”, according to US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.
“We believe that a ceasefire right now benefits Hamas, and Hamas is the only one that would gain from that right now.”
Israeli attacks have killed more than 8,000 Palestinians since October 7, almost half of them children, and the number of dead is expected to rapidly rise as Israel expands its ground operations in Gaza.
Kirby said that instead of a ceasefire, the US administration was pushing for “temporary, localised humanitarian pauses for aid, and for people to get out”.
One child is now being killed every 10 minutes in Gaza, according to Save the Children.
Out of the 20,000 civilians that had been injured, one in three of them was a child, the charity’s Palestine director, Jason Lee, told the BBC.
He said, “Surgeons are doing surgeries without anaesthetic, people are using mobile phones as flashlights to have lights in health facilities.
Overcrowded conditions and a lack of hygiene practices were resulting in a rise in communicable diseases, he added, citing a concern over the spread of influenza.
By Dalhatu Liman & Hafsat Hayatudeen with agencies