Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected an early end to the fighting against the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “We will continue the war to the end. It will continue until Hamas is eliminated – until victory,” Netanyahu said in a video message on Wednesday. “Anyone who believes that we will stop is far from reality.” Israel will not give up until all goals are achieved. These are “the elimination of Hamas, the release of our hostages and the elimination of the threat from the Gaza Strip.”

Netanyahu emphasized again that all Hamas terrorists, “from the first to the last, are doomed to die.” Israel is attacking Hamas and its accomplices “near and far”. They only have two options: “Surrender or die,” Netanyahu continued.

The Gaza war was triggered by the worst massacre in Israel’s history, which terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups carried out in Israel on October 7th. Israel responded with massive air strikes and began a ground offensive in late October. In view of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the sealed-off coastal area, Israel has recently come under increasing international pressure.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has again insisted on “more targeted” military operations by Israel in the Gaza Strip. “We expect and want to see a shift to more targeted operations with a smaller number of forces that are really focused on the leadership of Hamas, the tunnel network (…),” Blinken said in Washington on Wednesday. If that happens, the number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip will also decrease. The US government had already expressed this expectation last week after the visit of US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, to Israel.

At the same time, Blinken made it clear that he expected clearer words from the international community about the actions of the Islamist Hamas. “And what strikes me is that we keep hearing how many countries are pushing for an end to this conflict, which we would all like to see,” he said.

But he added: “I hear virtually no one demanding that Hamas stop hiding behind civilians. That they lay down their weapons, that they surrender.” The Gaza war cannot end with Hamas terrorists remaining in place and declaring their intention to repeat the October 7 attacks. “It’s not in Israel’s interest. It’s not in the region’s interest. It’s not in the world’s interest.”

According to media reports, discussions are currently underway in the background about a further ceasefire mediated by Qatar. According to the Hamas health authority in the Gaza Strip, almost 20,000 Palestinians have already died in the fighting.