PM of Israel says they will fight and conquer despite ceasefire calls

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Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on Dec. 15, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on Dec. 15, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday that Israel “will fight until Hamas is eliminated,” despite renewed efforts toward a new swap deal between the two conflicting parties.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Israeli official confirmed to Xinhua that talks brokered by Qatar in coordination with the United States have resumed. The official said that “no concrete proposal has been put on the table yet,” emphasizing that Israel considers the release of all 128 hostages remaining in Gaza as “a top priority.”

Ismail Haniyeh, chairman of Hamas’s political bureau, traveled from Qatar’s Doha to Egypt’s Cairo for talks focusing on developments in the Gaza Strip and efforts to reach another truce in the enclave and a hostage swap.

Before his departure, Haniyeh held a meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, during which the Hamas leader voiced his movement’s readiness for a lasting truce in Gaza, but made clear that Hamas would not negotiate while being attacked by Israel.

At a White House briefing, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said “very serious” discussions are underway for a new humanitarian pause in Gaza and the release of hostages held in Gaza in exchange for more Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody. “We hope that they (the negotiations) lead somewhere,” he added.

Despite recent developments, Netanyahu vowed that Israel is “continuing the war to the end. It will continue until Hamas is eliminated — until victory.”

Speaking in a video statement, the prime minister warned that Hamas leaders and fighters “have only two possibilities — to surrender or to die.”

Amid the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which has been under Israeli strikes and siege for more than two months, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen stated that Israel wants to fast-track the delivery of humanitarian aid from Cyprus to Gaza.

Cohen traveled to Cyprus for talks on the maritime corridor, his ministry said in a statement, adding that the goods to be shipped from Larnaca port to Gaza will undergo security checks in coordination with Israel. No specific date for the corridor’s inauguration was provided.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that some 300 locations in Gaza were attacked over the past day.

Israeli troops have “secured control over the Hamas’s ‘Elite Quarter’ in the center of Gaza City, including the area of the Palestine Square, from where its administrative and military leadership operated,” IDF said in a statement. The complex includes a large network of tunnels that connects hideouts, bureaus, and residential apartments belonging to the group’s senior leadership.

The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza from the relentless Israeli bombardments has reached 20,000, while more than 52,000 people were injured and 6,700 others were missing, according to a statement issued by the Hamas-run government media office on Wednesday.

On the Israeli side, the IDF reported three more soldiers’ deaths in Gaza, which brought the total death toll to 1,335, most of whom were killed during the initial Hamas rampage on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

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