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'Intense' phase of war nears end, says Netanyahu

Photo: Eyad Baba Agence France-Presse In the Gaza Strip, besieged by Israel, artillery fire targeted Rafah on Monday as well as the Palestinian camp of Nousseirat and the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City.

France Media Agency in the Gaza Strip

Published at 2:10 p.m.

  • Middle East

Bombardings targeted the Gaza Strip on Monday, after the announcement by the Israeli Prime Minister that the “intense” phase of the fighting was coming to an end, particularly in Rafah, in the south of the Palestinian territory, but that the war against Hamas would continue.

The Islamist movement responded that any agreement must “include a permanent ceasefire and a complete Israeli withdrawal” from Gaza, conditions that Israel has consistently rejected.

The Israeli army launched a ground offensive in Rafah, a town on the border with Egypt, in early May with the aim of destroying Hamas, which carried out a bloody attack on Israel on October 7 that sparked the war.< /p>

“The intense phase of the fighting against Hamas is about to end […] This does not mean that the war is about to end but the war in its intense phase is about to end in Rafah,” Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday in an interview with the Israeli channel Channel 14.

Monday in Parliament, Mr. Netanyahu assured that he was “attached to the Israeli proposal that President Biden approved, our position has not changed.”

“We will not end the war until we eliminate Hamas and bring the people of the south and north home safely,” he nevertheless stressed.

The plan presented at the end of May by American President Joe Biden, proposed according to him by Israel, provides for a six-week ceasefire accompanied by an Israeli withdrawal of densely populated areas of Gaza, the release of certain hostages, including women and the sick, and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

This plan aims to establish a cease -the “permanent” fire in a later phase, provided that Hamas “respects its commitments”, according to Mr. Biden.

“There will be a war”

Mr. Netanyahu is strongly criticized in his country, where a demonstration of unprecedented scale since the start of the war brought together more than 150,000 people in Tel Aviv on Saturday, according to the organizers, to demand early elections and the return of hostages .

The main association of relatives of hostages, the Families Forum, declared on Monday that “the end of the fighting in Gaza without the release of the hostages would constitute a national failure unprecedented.”

The war has also provoked a military escalation on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, raising fears of an extension of the conflict.

“After the Intense Phase ends, we will be able to redeploy some forces to the north, and we will do so, primarily for defensive purposes, but also to bring back locals [ displaced] in their homes,” the Prime Minister said on Sunday.

Exchanges of fire between the Israeli army and Lebanese Hezbollah, a powerful Islamist movement allied with Hamas, armed and financed by Iran, have led to the displacement of tens of thousands of residents of the border areas of southern Lebanon and the northern Israel.

“There will be a war,” predicted Helene Abergel, a resident of Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel, staying in a hotel from Tel Aviv. “A war must take place to push Hezbollah away from the border,” added this 49-year-old woman interviewed by AFP.

As relations between Mr Netanyahu and the United States have been strained by Israeli criticism of delays in US arms deliveries, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant arrived in Washington for talks he called “crucial” to the outcome of the war.

Looting and smuggling

In the Gaza Strip, which is under siege by Israel, artillery fire targeted Rafah on Monday, as well as the Palestinian camp of Nousseirat in the centre and the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, where fighting was reported, according to witnesses.

According to the Civil Defence, two health workers were killed in an airstrike on the hospital Al-Daraj, in Gaza City.

The army announced that it was continuing its “targeted operations” in the Rafah area and had “eliminated armed terrorists” there.

The war was triggered on October 7 by an attack by Hamas commandos in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.

Of the 251 people kidnapped, 116 are still being held hostage in Gaza, 41 of whom are dead, according to the Israeli army.

In response, the Israeli army launched an offensive in the Palestinian territory that has so far killed 37,626 people, mostly civilians, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Gaza government, which has been run by Hamas since 2007.

The Palestinian Islamist movement is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel.

The war has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the Palestinian territory where looting and smuggling “are widespread” and “prevent” the delivery of aid that the population “desperately needs”, the head of UNRWA said on Monday. the UN agency in charge of Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini.

More than a million people are constantly on the move across the Gaza Strip in hope of finding refuge, while “no place is safe”, according to the World Health Organization.

Based on satellite images , the UN calculated that approximately 65% ​​of the road network was damaged or destroyed.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116