Netanyahu’s statements in a conversation with ABC News earlier this week, in which he said Israel would “bear global responsibility for security” in the Gaza Strip after the war, were met with resistance from ally the US. Washington announced its opposition to an Israeli occupation of Gaza.
Netanyahu now told Fox News: “We don’t want to conquer Gaza, we don’t want to occupy Gaza and we don’t want to govern Gaza.” The Israeli prime minister said Gaza must be “demilitarized, deradicalized and rebuilt” after the war.
According to Netanyahu, there must be a civilian government. Israel would ensure that an attack such as on October 7 cannot happen again. “So we must have a credible force that, if necessary, will enter Gaza and kill the killers. Because that is what will prevent a Hamas-like entity from emerging again.”
“We want to give Gaza and ourselves a better future throughout the Middle East. And for that we must defeat Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “I think it is clear what the future of Gaza should look like. Hamas will be gone, we must destroy Hamas, not just for us, but for everyone. In the interests of civilization, in the interests of both Palestinians and Israelis.”
US officials say the Palestinian Authority, from which Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, should return after the war to govern the strip.
“Congressman Called for Genocide”
In the interview with Fox News, Netanyahu also spoke about the opposition that Israel is receiving worldwide due to the attacks on the Gaza Strip, which have already left more than 10,000 dead. “I’m sure there are some naive people” among those protesting, the prime minister said, “but there are many people who know exactly what they are saying.”
He said he appreciated that the US Congress has imposed a censure motion on Palestinian-American Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who defended the controversial slogan “from the river to the sea” in her criticism of Israel. “From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea” would mean “there is no Israel,” according to Netanyahu. “So what this congressman is calling for is Palestine and genocide, the elimination of the Jewish state, the only Jewish state of the Jewish people. That is absurd.”
“Biden’s support deeply appreciated”
Asked about President Joe Biden’s comment that the war is “lasting a little bit longer than I hoped,” Netanyahu said he has set goals but no timeline. “I think we share a common goal and I appreciate the support that President Biden has shown, that the administration has shown and, frankly, the American people have shown” and that both parties have shown, Netanyahu said. “That’s really important. America’s support and President Biden’s support is deeply, deeply appreciated.”
What they disagree on, however, are the calls for a ceasefire. “A ceasefire with Hamas means surrender to Hamas, surrender to terror and the victory of the Iranian axis of terror. So there will be no ceasefire without the release of Israeli hostages,” Netanyahu reiterated his position.
Israel did agree to humanitarian breaks. “The fighting against the Hamas enemy, the Hamas terrorists, continues, but in specific locations for a certain period of time, a few hours here, a few hours there, we want to allow safe passage of civilians away from the combat zone. And we do that,” Netanyahu said.