Israel vows to take 'security responsibility' of Gaza after war

AP , Tuesday 7 Nov 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed late Monday that Israel will take control of the "overall security" of besieged Gaza after the war, as the Palestinian health ministry said the death toll has surged past 10,000.

 Gaza Strip
This picture taken near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on November 7, 2023. AFP

 

Resisting calls for a ceasefire, Netanyahu said there would be no letup in the war on Gaza. 

With international criticism of Israel's conduct of the war mounting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Gaza was becoming a "graveyard for children". 

Israeli war on Gaza has killed more than 10,000 more than 4,000 of them children, during one month since the war began.

More than 1.5 million people in densely packed Gaza have fled their homes for other parts of the territory in a desperate search for cover, with critical aid only trickling in.

But Netanyahu told ABC News the war would continue until Israel had restored "overall security" control of Gaza.

"Israel will, for an indefinite period, will have the overall security responsibility," he said.

Significant strikes 

Netanyahu's comments came after the White House said the Israeli leader had discussed potential "tactical pauses" in a phone call with US President Joe Biden on Monday.

But no agreements were announced and the pair did not broach the possibility of a ceasefire.

While key Israeli ally the United States is seeking a humanitarian "pause" in the fighting, several countries and UN agencies have repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire.

Netanyahu said that there will be no ceasefire - general ceasefire -, without the release of the Israelis held in captivity by the Pastinians resistance groups. 

"As far as tactical, little pauses -- an hour here, an hour there -- we've had them before. I suppose we'll check the circumstances in order to enable goods -- humanitarian goods -- to come in or individual hostages, to leave," he added.

The Israeli occupation army said it had pounded Gaza with "significant" strikes on 450 sites over 24 hours since Sunday morning.

Israeli infantry and tanks have flooded the northern half of the Gaza Strip and tightened an encirclement of Gaza City, effectively splitting the territory in two.

Around 30 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the offensive, the latest on Monday, according to a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing Israeli sources.

Statue of Liberty protest 

Israel withdrew its troops from the Gaza Strip in 2005 but maintained a total blockage of the strip. A year later, Hamas won elections in Gaza, and took control of the territory in 2007, while Israel controled all exists, see, air and water.

The Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, only exercises limited autonomy in parts of the occupied West Bank.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested last week that the Palestinian Authority should retake control of Gaza after the war, and visited the West Bank to meet Abbas on Sunday.

But Hamas said they would never accept a puppet government in Gaza and that "no force on Earth could annihilate" it, said senior Hamas official in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan.

Blinken on Tuesday concluded his latest whirlwind Middle East tour, landing in Japan for a meeting of G7 foreign ministers set to seek a common line on Gaza.

The United States, blindly supporting Israel's brutal war, has bolstered its forces in the region, deploying two carrier strike groups and other assets to drive home its message that regional actors should not seek to take advantage of the conflict.

The Pentagon said Monday a US nuclear-powered Ohio-class submarine was in the Middle East to help prevent war from widening.

Hamas fired 16 rockets from Lebanon towards northern Israel on Monday, while Yemen's Huthi rebels claimed they had launched a fresh drone attack against Israel.

Meanwhile, in the latest protest, hundreds of US Jewish activists peacefully occupied New York's Statue of Liberty on Monday to demand a ceasefire an end to the "genocidal bombardment" of civilians in Gaza.

"As long as the people of Gaza are screaming, we need to yell louder, no matter who attempts to silence us," said photographer Nan Goldin at the protest.

Overnight massacres 

Israel's latest overnight barrage killed 292 people and hit two paediatric hospitals and Gaza's only psychiatric hospital.

"These are massacres! They destroyed three houses over the heads of their inhabitants -- women and children," Mahmud Meshmesh, a resident of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, told AFP.

"We have already taken 40 bodies out of the rubble," he said as crowds prayed around corpses wrapped in white shrouds.

Israel occupation army has air-dropped leaflets and sent text messages ordering Palestinian civilians in northern Gaza to head south, an area it continues however to shell. A US official said Saturday at least 350,000 civilians remained in the worst-hit areas.

The Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt reopened Monday to allow the evacuation of foreigners and dual nationals, Hamas said, ending a two-day closure following the Israeli seadly strikes of ambulances, which were heading to the terminal.

On Monday, 93 aid trucks carrying food, medicine and water crossed from Egypt into Gaza, the United Nations said, but the needs are overwhelming.

A convoy including four ambulances arrived in Egypt via the Rafah crossing on Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

"I have lost my home and have nothing left. I came here with nothing but the clothes I'm wearing," said Dana Okal, a Swedish passport holder.

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