DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Saturday to growing international calls for a ceasefire, saying Israel’s fight to root out Hamas fighters, which controls the Strip of Gaza, will continue with “full force.”
A ceasefire will be possible only if all 239 hostages who were taken by fighters and taken to Gaza are freed, Netanyahu said in a televised speech.
The Israeli president also insisted that after the war, Gaza will be demilitarized and Israel will take control of the territory’s security. This position seems to contradict the post-war scenarios put forward by Israel’s closest ally, the United States, which has expressed its opposition to its reoccupation of the territory.
Asked what he meant by the security check, Netanyahu said Israeli forces must be able to enter Gaza when necessary to go after fighters.
Pressure was mounting on Israel after doctors at Gaza’s largest hospital said the last working generator had run out of fuel, killing a premature baby, another infant in an incubator and four other patients. . Thousands of war-wounded, medical staff and displaced civilians were caught up in the fighting.
In recent days, fighting near Shifa and other hospitals in northern Gaza has intensified and supplies have run out. The Israeli military has claimed, without providing evidence, that Hamas has set up command posts inside and below hospitals, using civilians as human shields. Shifa medical staff have rejected those claims and accused Israel of wounding civilians with indiscriminate attacks.
Shifa Hospital Director Mohammed Abu Selmia reported that the facility lost power on Saturday.
“The medical devices stopped working. The patients, especially those who were in intensive care, began to die,” she said by telephone as shots and explosions could be heard. He noted that Israeli troops were “shooting anyone outside or inside the hospital” and preventing movement between buildings.
Israeli military forces confirmed fighting outside the hospital, but Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari denied that Shifa was under siege. He said troops will help on Sunday to remove babies being cared for there and said “we are speaking directly and regularly” with hospital staff.
Amos Yadlin, former director of the Israeli military intelligence agency, told broadcaster Channel 12 that as Israel seeks to end Hamas, taking control of hospitals would be key, but would require “a lot of tactical creativity,” without causing injuries to patients, other civilians. and to the Israeli hostages.
Six patients died in Shifa after the generator stopped working, including the two infants, the Health Ministry of the Hamas-controlled territory said.
The “unbearably desperate situation” in Shifa must end now, said the director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Robert Mardini, on social media. The UN humanitarian director, Martin Griffiths, published that “there can be no justification for acts of war in health facilities, leaving them without electricity, food or water.”
Separately, the Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli tanks were 20 meters (65 feet) away from Al Quds Hospital in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City, causing a “state of great panic and fear.” ” among the 14,000 displaced people who took refuge in that place.
A 57-nation meeting attended by Muslim and Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia called in its statement for an end to the war in Gaza and the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid. The statement also urged the International Court of Justice, a UN body, to open an investigation into Israel’s attacks, noting that the war “cannot be called self-defense and cannot be justified under any circumstances.”