Israel will have “overall security responsibility” for the Gaza Strip after defeating Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.
“I think Israel for an indefinite period will have the overall security responsibility because we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have it. When we don’t have that security responsibility, what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn’t imagine,” Netanyahu told ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir.
The military is conducting a war against Hamas in Gaza with the goal of eliminating the terror group’s capacity to threaten Israel. The war was sparked by Hamas’s mass invasion of the western Negev on Oct. 7, during which the terror group murdered 1,400 people, wounded more than 5,000 and took more than 200 back to the Gaza Strip as hostages.
The United States has been pressing for the Palestinian Authority to take a “leading role” in a post-Hamas Gaza Strip, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in a visit to Ramallah on Sunday, but Israel does not want another terror group sworn to its destruction at its borders.
Earlier this week, Likud parliamentarian Amit Halevy slammed the U.S. proposal to hand over control of Gaza to the P.A., saying the Biden administration was “slapping Israel in the face” by pressing the position.
“While Blinken vows that he will do everything to prevent a recurrence of the events of Oct. 7, he pushes for giving control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, whose members, exactly like Hamas, advocate for the destruction of Israel and applaud Hamas’s murderous Nazi-like massacre of Jews, seeking to emulate them,” said Halevy.
Terrorists from P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party joined in Hamas’s murderous assault on southern Israel on Oct. 7. The video of members of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade bragging about partaking in the massacre was exposed last week by Palestinian Media Watch.
During the ABC interview on Monday, Netanyahu also reiterated that “there will be no ceasefire in Gaza without the release of our hostages.”
“It will hamper the war effort. It will hamper our effort to get our hostages out. The only thing that works on these Hamas criminals is the military pressure we are exerting,” he said.
He also pushed back against criticism of mounting civilian casualties in Gaza, stating that the media should not take casualty figures provided by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry at face value because they do not include the thousands of terrorists killed fighting Israeli forces.
“I think every civilian loss is a tragedy. We are fighting an enemy that is particularly brutal. They are using their civilians as human shields. While we are asking the Palestinian civilian population to leave the war zone, they are preventing them at gunpoint,” he said.
Netanyahu also had a message for Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon: “I think they’ve understood that if they enter the war in a significant way the response will be very, very powerful and I hope they don’t make that mistake.”