Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he will not agree to a ceasefire in Gaza, saying it would be a “surrender to Hamas” and “to terrorism.”
In a briefing on Monday, Netanyahu told reporters, “Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities after the horrific attacks of October 7. Calls for a ceasefire are a call for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terror, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.”
He compared his refusal to heed growing international calls for a ceasefire with the U.S. likely not agreeing to a ceasefire after the Pearl Harbor bombing and the 9/11 attacks.
“The Bible says that there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also urged the international community to demand that more than 230 hostages abducted by Hamas should “be freed immediately, unconditionally.”
When asked whether he would step down as prime minister over Israel’s defense and intelligence failure ahead of Hamas’ attack, Netanyahu said, “The only thing that I intend to resign is Hamas.”
Netanyahu praised Israel’s armed forces for making “systematic progress” in their military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, which authorities have not yet acknowledged as Israel’s long-anticipated ground invasion.
Residents in Gaza have been left without access to clean, running water, and food and medical supplies are running out. Gaza was under a near-total internet blackout after Israel intensified its attacks, but connectivity in the strip has now reportedly returned after the U.S. pressured the Israeli government to restore communications and internet.
The U.S. and Israel’s other Western allies have raised concerns over the increasing death toll of Palestinians, notably innocent civilians, as Israel intensifies its military campaign in Gaza.
Responding to the death toll, Netanyahu said Monday there should be a “moral distinction between the deliberate murder of the innocent, and the unintentional kind of casualties that accompany every legitimate war.”