Netanyahu Lays Down Peace Demands

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Saturday said Israel’s war with Hamas would continue for months, in a clear pushback against rising international calls for a ceasefire, CBS News reported.

In a December 30 press conference, Netanyahu also thanked the Biden administration for its continued support, particularly the State Department’s December 29 approval of a second emergency weapons sale as well as the administration’s prevention of an immediate ceasefire resolution from the UN Security Council.

In a notice last Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Congress that he had approved a $147.5 million sale of fuses, charges, and primers that Israel needed for its previous purchase of 155mm shells.

Secretary Blinken, who has been making frequent visits to Israel and the Middle East region since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks, is expected to return to the region this month as US officials urge Israel to shift from high-intensity combat to more targeted operations in Gaza.

However, in his televised press conference on Saturday, Netanyahu said Israel needed more time.

The prime minister told reporters that the war “will continue many more months.” He reiterated that Israel would continue fighting in Gaza until it achieved all of its objectives, chief among them “the annihilation of Hamas and the release of all the hostages.”

Israel previously warned that a ceasefire at this stage would be a victory for Hamas.

The Iranian-backed terror group has already said that it would not negotiate for the release of additional hostages until Israel ends all combat operations in Gaza.

On December 25, Hamas rejected a ceasefire proposal from Egypt that included a phased release of the hostages and a joint Palestinian government led by experts who would act as administrators for both Gaza and the West Bank.

Izzat Rishq, a senior Hamas official insisted that the group would not accept another temporary or partial ceasefire, nor would it return to negotiations without a “complete end” to Israeli “aggression.”