In the wake of recent terror attacks launched against Israel by the Iran-backed organization Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has firmly declared that Israel will not engage in negotiations with the terrorist group. Instead, Israel is preparing to take military action within the Gaza Strip to “restore deterrence,” according to reports stemming from a phone call between Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden.
During the call, Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized the necessity of taking action rather than pursuing negotiations. “We have to go in. We can’t negotiate now”, he conveyed to President Biden, as reported by Axios. Biden, in turn, expressed concerns about the safety of Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip in the event of a ground operation.
Netanyahu explained to Biden that, given the volatile nature of the Middle East, Israel has no alternative but to respond with force. In his autobiography, “Bibi: My Story”, Netanyahu sheds light on his complex interactions with the Obama and Biden administrations, which, while officially maintaining a special relationship with Israel, were seen as supportive of the Iranian regime.
Netanyahu’s consistent stance has been that Israel will do whatever is necessary to safeguard its national security, including preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. By targeting both Hamas and strategic installations linked to Hezbollah following the October 7th attack, Israel is also sending a message to Iran.
Axios noted that President Biden did not attempt to dissuade Netanyahu or urge him to reconsider the possibility of a ground operation in Gaza.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have reported launching extensive airstrikes in a coastal neighborhood of Gaza City, targeting numerous sites. The IDF described the area, named al-Furqan after a local mosque, as a “nest of terror” used by Hamas for launching attacks against Israel. Dozens of fighter jets were involved in the airstrikes.
Additionally, the Israeli military reportedly struck targets in southern Lebanon, following the infiltration of several gunmen into northern Israel. Images and clips shared on social media depict the aftermath of these strikes, including a Hezbollah observation post being targeted. Combat helicopters were also employed for operations in the area, after Israeli troops killed several gunmen near the Lebanon border.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi commented on the situation, stating, “After a rough start, we are shaping the line of engagement. We hit a lot of terrorists — whoever gets close, they are killed. We will finish purging the area, so that we do not have terrorists here, and, at the same time, we are already on the offensive. We have many more tasks. We need to be strong. It started badly, and will end very badly on the other side”.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett described the current conflict as “the harshest event since the War of Independence”. Speaking from southern Israel, he expressed deep concern over the brutality of the attacks, emphasizing the need for Israel to defend itself. Bennett stressed, “We set up a Jewish state in this land in order to defend ourselves, and now the time has come to fight back”.
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