Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again rejected calls for the formation of an independent Palestinian state, saying Israel was “aiming for complete victory” over Hamas, as he faced rising criticism at home.
His remarks put him at odds with countries including the U.S. that have pushed for the revival of a two-state solution, undermining hopes of an end to the Israel-Hamas war in the short term.
Israelis push for early election
Israel needs an early election to forge a path out of the crisis, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak argued in Haaretz. Voicing support for U.S. proposals for post-war Gaza, including talks on a two-state solution, Barak took specific aim at Netanyahu, saying his tenure as prime minister was “an existential threat to Israel.” To resolve Israel’s security crisis, he said, the country “needs different leadership.”
Hostage negotiations fall behind war aims
Israel’s opposition parties and citizens have criticized Netanyahu’s hostage negotiation strategy, with some family members staging protests calling for the safe return of those captured by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack. Polls show that a majority of Israelis place the safe return of hostages above the military ambition of defeating Hamas, the Financial Times noted. The two goals of the war — returning hostages to Israel and dismantling Hamas — are out of sync, Haaretz journalist Amos Harel wrote. “For now, the army’s operations aren’t leading to the hostages’ return, and the families fear that their operations may well lead – unintentionally – to their deaths.”