Netanyahu Vows To Destroy Hamas Amid White House Pressure

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week that Israel’s goal was still to destroy Hamas, despite pressure from the White House to accept a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. The statement came amid speculation that Israel could accept a ceasefire with Hamas in exchange for an unknown number of hostages.

President Joe Biden announced on social media that there was a plan for a ceasefire in the current conflict. He implied that Israel accepted a ceasefire plan.

“Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” said Netanyahu.

“Under the proposal, Israel will continue to insist these conditions are met before a permanent ceasefire is put in place. The notion that Israel will agree to a permanent ceasefire before these conditions are fulfilled is a non-starter,” the prime minister added.

The discussion came as Israel has seized some parts of the Gaza Strip city of Rafah, currently held by Hamas.

Earlier negotiations for a long-term ceasefire fell apart after Hamas could not guarantee that many of the hostages taken during the Oct. 7 attack were still alive. Prior to the revelation, Israel estimated that about 40 hostages may have still been alive.

Hamas killed about 1,200 people and captured more than 200 during the Oct. 7 terror attack last autumn.

Israel and Hamas held a brief ceasefire last November, which saw the exchange of a number of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas has been reduced in scope considerably since the conflict began. Israel currently holds much of the Gaza Strip and Rafah remains the terrorist group’s last major stronghold.

In Israeli domestic politics, several of Netanyahu’s coalition partners are discussing toppling the government unless the prime minister acts decisively in Rafah.

The White House has been pressuring Netanyahu not to launch a final attack on Rafah, which Biden called a “red line” earlier this year.

Separately, Netanyahu accepted an invitation from members of Congress to speak in Washington.