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Netanyahu and Gallant: Rafa and Sinwar assassination a “primary target” before any deal

A day before US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Galant arrived in Tel Aviv on an announced mission aimed at launching a prisoner exchange deal, a breakthrough in the region. On Monday, they returned to threats and intimidation as tensions rose and they insisted that the Israeli goal was to “achieve total victory,” killing Yahya Sinwar and other Hamas leaders and expanding the war to Rafah.

Netanyahu said he would “prevent the end of the war” before the movement's leaders were assassinated in the Gaza Strip, stressing that the release of Israelis held by opposition factions in the Strip would not come “at any cost”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Galant during an earlier security assessment session at Israeli military headquarters (dpa)

Netanyahu's comments came during a session of the Likud party's parliamentary assembly this afternoon, during which a spat broke out between party officials. “Our goal is to achieve total victory over Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “We will kill the leadership of the movement, so we must continue to work in all areas of the Gaza Strip.” He added that it is forbidden to end the war before then. It takes time; “Months, not years.” He continued: “As for the kidnappers, we have released 110 hostages and we continue to work on this matter, but (Hamas) have demands that we will not agree to. The exchange key should be the same as the previous contract.

He insisted that Israel would not reach a deal that would lead to the release of its prisoners in the Gaza Strip “at any cost”. In a meeting with Israeli soldiers in Ladrun, a suburb of Jerusalem, Netanyahu said what he called a “victory in the war” over the Gaza Strip would guarantee Israel new peace deals, according to a statement released by his office. He said, “Only total victory (in Gaza) can guarantee the additional historic peace agreements that await us.” He added, “A total victory would deal a death blow to the axis of evil: Iran, Hezbollah, the Houthis and of course Hamas.” He continued: “There is no alternative to total victory, without which the displaced (Israelis from the southern and northern regions) will not return.”

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Netanyahu said the Israeli army was able to “destroy more than half of their (Hamas) force.” We destroyed 18 battalions out of 24. He said: “We will not stop the war without achieving this goal, which is a comprehensive victory that will restore security in the South and the North.”

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On the other hand, on Monday the head of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, Galand, Yahya Sinwar, said he was “moving from one hideout to another” and “couldn't communicate” with his circles, saying Israel had destroyed them. 18 of the 24 battalions of the Hamas movement's armed wing, and “half of the movement's members have been killed or seriously wounded,” he said.

At a press conference at his ministry's headquarters on Monday evening, Gallant emphasized, “As part of the continuation of the ground operation, which is considered one of the most complex operations in history, the last battalion in Khan Younis will soon be removed. Wars.” He added: “The next target is Rafa. Hamas and Shinwar leaders are on the run.

Regarding the fighting in the north, “In addition to the fighting in Gaza; Part of the IDF's operations is in the north, where we are preparing the residents of the north to return safely to their homes. We prefer the settlement process to war; (Hezbollah) cannot threaten the people of Israel.

In a related matter, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call on Monday that a two-state solution was the only way to lasting peace in the Middle East.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (dpa)

According to a statement released by his spokesman, the German chancellor explained that “only a negotiated two-state solution will open the door to a permanent solution to the conflict in the Middle East.” This applies to Gaza and the West Bank. He called for the “Palestinian Authority to play a leading role in reform (…)”. According to the report.

The Israeli government refuses to discuss a “two-state solution” that has drawn the displeasure of the international community, and last month Netanyahu reaffirmed his opposition to any “Palestinian sovereignty.” He insisted that Israel maintain security control over Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Western diplomats are trying to promote a solution that would allow Israelis and Palestinians to live in separate sovereign states, a prospect that has been diminished by the war in Gaza. During the call with Netanyahu, Schulz stressed the “urgent need to significantly improve humanitarian access to residents of the Gaza Strip,” describing the situation as “extremely worrisome.”

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