The war between Israel and Hamas will continue quotmany more

The war between Israel and Hamas will continue "many more months," Netanyahu says – CBS News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza would continue for “many more months,” defying ongoing international calls for a ceasefire after a rise in civilian deaths, starvation and mass displacement in the besieged enclave.

Netanyahu thanked the Biden administration for its continued support, including approving a new emergency arms sale, the second this month, and blocking a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. Israel argues that an immediate end to the war would mean victory for Hamas, a stance shared by the Biden administration, which at the same time urged Israel to do more to avoid harm to Palestinian civilians.

In fresh fighting on Saturday, Israeli warplanes attacked the urban refugee camps of Nuseirat and Bureij in the center of the territory, while ground forces pushed deeper into the southern town of Khan Younis.

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The Health Ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that more than 21,600 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's unprecedented air and ground offensive since the deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7. The ministry, which does not distinguish between deaths of civilians and combatants, said 165 Palestinians had been killed in the past 24 hours. It is said that around 70% of those killed were women and children.

The number of Israeli soldiers killed in the Gaza Strip rose to 170 after the military announced two more deaths on Saturday.

The war displaced about 85% of Gaza's 2.3 million residents, with large numbers seeking refuge in Israeli-designated safe areas that the military nevertheless bombed. Palestinians are left with the feeling that nowhere is safe in the tiny enclave.

As Israeli forces expanded their ground offensive this week, tens of thousands more Palestinians poured into the already crowded town of Rafah at the southernmost end of the Gaza Strip.

Thousands of tents and makeshift huts have sprung up on the outskirts of Rafah next to UN warehouses. The displaced people came to Rafah on foot or in trucks and carts full of mattresses. Those who couldn't find space in the overcrowded shelters pitched tents on the side of the road.

“We don’t have any water. We don’t have enough food,” said Nour Daher, a displaced woman, from the sprawling tent camp on Saturday. “The children wake up in the morning and want to eat and drink. It took us an hour to find water for her. We couldn't bring them flour. Even when we wanted to take her to the toilet, it took us an hour to go.”

In Nuseirat camp, resident Mustafa Abu Wawee said a strike hit the home of one of his relatives, killing two people.

“The (Israeli) occupation is doing everything to force people to leave,” he said by phone as he helped search for four missing people among the rubble. “They want to break our spirit and will, but they will fail. We are here to stay.”

The State Department said Friday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had informed Congress that he had approved a sale of $147.5 million in equipment, including detonators, charges and detonators used for 155 million previously purchased by Israel. mm grenades are needed.

It was the second time this month that the Biden administration has bypassed Congress to approve an emergency arms sale to Israel. Blinken made a similar decision on December 9, authorizing the sale of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition worth more than $106 million to Israel.

Both moves came as President Biden's request for a nearly $106 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other national security needs remains stalled in Congress and is caught up in a debate over U.S. immigration policy and border security . Some Democratic lawmakers have talked about making proposed $14.3 billion in American aid to their Middle East ally conditional on concrete steps by the Netanyahu government to address civilian casualties in Gaza during the war with Hamas to reduce.

Blinken, who has traveled repeatedly to the Middle East during the war, was expected back in Israel and other countries in the region in January. U.S. officials have urged Israel to move from high-intensity fighting to more targeted operations, but said they would not set a deadline.

Netanyahu said Israel needed more time.

“As the chief of staff said this week, the war will continue for many months,” he said at a televised news conference on Saturday. “My policy is clear. We will continue to fight until we achieve all of the war's goals, especially the destruction of Hamas and the release of all hostages.”

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza after militants captured more than 240 hostages in the Oct. 7 attack that also killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Netanyahu is also at odds with the Biden administration over who should rule Gaza after the war. He rejected the U.S.-backed idea that a unified Palestinian government should govern both Gaza and parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank as a precursor to eventual statehood. Instead, he insisted on unlimited Israeli security control in Gaza, without saying what would come next.

Families of hostages and their supporters demanded the government prioritize the release of hostages over other war goals and staged large protests every weekend, including Saturday.

Egypt, one of the mediators between Israel and Hamas, has proposed a multi-stage plan that would begin with an exchange of hostages for prisoners, accompanied by a temporary ceasefire – similar to an exchange during a week-long ceasefire in November.

Hamas insists the war must end before it talks about releasing hostages. Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official in Beirut, reiterated that position on Saturday, but also told The Associated Press that “we have not yet given a final answer” to the Egyptian proposal.

Asked about reports of possible progress toward an agreement, Netanyahu said Saturday that “we may see an opportunity for movement” but that he did not want to create “over-the-top expectations.”

More than a week after a U.N. Security Council resolution called for the unimpeded delivery of large-scale aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, conditions have only worsened, U.N. agencies have warned.

Aid workers said aid reaching Gaza remained woefully inadequate. Distribution of goods is being complicated by long delays at two border crossings, ongoing fighting, Israeli airstrikes, repeated cuts in internet and phone services and a breakdown in law and order that is making it difficult to secure aid convoys, they said.

Almost the entire population is completely dependent on outside humanitarian aid, said Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. A quarter of the population is starving because too few trucks are arriving with food, medicine, fuel and other aid – sometimes fewer than 100 trucks a day, according to UN daily reports.

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