The Israeli prime minister named the group’s annihilation and the enclave’s demilitarization among conditions for peace in Gaza
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated Israel’s commitment to continuing its military operation in Gaza until Hamas is defeated, the entire Palestinian enclave is “demilitarized,” and its inhabitants are “deradicalized.” He emphasized the need for a buffer zone along Gaza’s perimeter, with Israeli security officials overseeing goods entering from Egypt to ensure Israel’s safety.
The military campaign was triggered by a Hamas assault on October 7, resulting in at least 1,200 deaths and the abduction of around 240 individuals. Dozens of them have been released as part of prisoner swaps.
Netanyahu’s government responded with airstrikes and a ground operation, causing significant casualties, with over 20,000 Palestinians killed, including a substantial number of children and women. Another 53,000 have been reported injured.
Israel’s tactics have faced criticism from the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations. Its European and US allies have recently called for increased efforts to protect civilian lives.
In his opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal published on Monday, Netanyahu wrote: “Hamas must be destroyed, Gaza must be demilitarized, and Palestinian society must be deradicalized.” These are the “three prerequisites for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza,” the prime minister argued.
According to the official, only the complete dismantling of Hamas’ military capabilities, as well as its political power structures in Gaza, could guarantee that the tragic events of October 7 would not be repeated.
He went on to claim that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are operating “in full compliance with international law,” accusing Hamas militants of using “Palestinian civilians as human shields.” Netanyahu urged the international community to place the blame for any Palestinian casualties exclusively on Hamas.
The prime minister also expressed skepticism over the Palestinian Authority’s ability to demilitarize and deradicalize Gaza, adding that “for the foreseeable future Israel will have to retain overriding security responsibility” over the enclave.
Earlier this month, the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, stated that the militant group is open to negotiations with Israel as long as the latter agrees to the creation of an “independent [Palestinian] state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear a day prior that his government would not “repeat the mistake of Oslo” – a 1993 peace accord that created a roadmap for a sovereign Palestinian state.