By John Ikani
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in an interview on U.S. television stressed that a broader ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is not currently on the table.
According to him, the release of Israeli hostages would be a prerequisite for a general ceasefire.
“There’ll be no ceasefire, general ceasefire, in Gaza without the release of our hostages,” said Netanyahu in the ABC interview.
He however noted that there will be room for “tactical pauses” to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the departure of individual hostages.
Netanyahu had previously discussed the possibility of these “tactical pauses” with U.S. President Joe Biden.
These temporary ceasefires would facilitate the safe evacuation of civilians from combat zones, provide humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza, and potentially lead to the release of additional hostages held by the Islamist group Hamas.
According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, the conflict has led to the loss of over 10,000 Palestinian lives, including many women and children.
The Gaza Strip remains under strict Israeli blockade, a response to an earlier assault by Hamas fighters on Israeli communities that resulted in casualties and hostage-taking.
Netanyahu believes that maintaining military pressure is crucial in dealing with Hamas, a belief he expressed in the ABC interview.