Israel: Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirms his refusal of Palestinian control of Gaza, scene of fierce fighting

The bombings continued on Sunday January 21 in the Gaza Strip, while Israel carried out operations in the West Bank, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu having reaffirmed his opposition to “Palestinian sovereignty”

Israel: Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirms his refusal of Palestinian control of Gaza, scene of fierce fighting

The bombings continued on Sunday January 21 in the Gaza Strip, while Israel carried out operations in the West Bank, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu having reaffirmed his opposition to “Palestinian sovereignty”.

Israel must “ensure that Gaza no longer poses a threat”, and this requirement “contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty”, explained Mr. Netanyahu during a telephone interview on Friday with US President Joe Biden. On Thursday, he had already affirmed that Israel must control the security of “the entire territory west of the Jordan River”, encompassing the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

The conflict, entering its 107th day, sparked by an unprecedented Hamas attack in southern Israel on October 7, is testing the Jewish state's relations with its main ally and supporter, the United States. United, in particular with regard to the question, central for the post-war period, of a two-state solution.

Joe Biden “still believes in the prospect and possibility” of a Palestinian state, but “recognizes that it will take a lot of work to get there,” explained the White House following the telephone exchange.

British Defense Minister Grant Shapps said on Sunday it was "disappointing to hear this from the Israeli Prime Minister", adding that, for the United Kingdom, "there is no other option" than a two-state solution to resolve the conflict in the region.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “the right of the Palestinian people” to statehood must be “recognized by all” and that any “denial” was “unacceptable.”

More than 25,000 Palestinians killed, says Hamas

The bloody Hamas attack on October 7 resulted in the deaths of 1,140 people, the majority civilians, according to a count by Agence France-Presse (AFP) based on official Israeli figures. Some 250 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza, around 100 of whom were released at the end of November.

Israel, which has sworn to "annihilate" Hamas, is shelling the small territory in retaliation, where more than 25,000 people, the vast majority women, children and adolescents, have been killed by bombings and military operations, according to a report from the Hamas health ministry published on Sunday. At least 1.7 million people have been displaced by the war, according to revised figures from the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA).

Mr Netanyahu rejects calls from the UN and international community for a humanitarian ceasefire as Washington has called on Israel to limit civilian casualties in Gaza.

On Sunday, Hamas reported dozens of airstrikes and artillery attacks in the Gaza Strip, saying Israeli forces had targeted the area around Nasser and Al-Amal hospitals in the town of Khan Yunis, now the epicenter of military operations. . Dozens of bodies “are still under the rubble,” the Palestinian Islamist movement said.

The Israeli army dropped leaflets on Rafah on Saturday showing photos of the hostages and calling on residents of the city, where tens of thousands of displaced people are crowded, to share any information about them. According to Israel, 132 hostages are still in the territory. At least 27 were killed, according to an AFP count based on Israeli figures.

In Tel Aviv, thousands of Israelis gathered on Saturday to demand the return of hostages, held since October 7 in the Gaza Strip, and to demand the departure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accused in particular of continuing the war for stay in power.

Furthermore, the Israeli army is carrying out several operations in the West Bank, in Hebron, Qalqilya and Jenin, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA. Patrols and arrests took place, assures the same source, which reported two houses of Palestinian fighters demolished in Hebron.