Sun 14 Apr 2024 2:09 pm - Jerusalem Time

Smotrich demands to invade Rafah and control the entire Gaza Strip

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for invading Rafah and imposing control over the entire Gaza Strip, despite international warnings against carrying out a military operation in the city crowded with thousands of displaced people.

After Israel announced that it had received a negative response from the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) regarding a proposal for a truce in Gaza, Smotrich said in a post on the “X” platform, “Abandoning the Israeli red lines and pursuing Hamas in order to reach an agreement will only lead to eliminating the opportunity to return all... "Detainees."

Smotrich, who heads the Religious Zionism Party, added: “It is time to learn lessons, change direction, and head to Rafah now, and restore full Israeli control over the entire Gaza Strip.”

Regional and international warnings are mounting regarding Israel's plans to carry out a ground invasion in Rafah, and the danger this poses to hundreds of thousands of displaced people who have taken refuge there as a last refuge in the far south of the Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced on Sunday that Hamas responded negatively to the ceasefire proposal presented by the mediators last Monday.

He considered that the rejection of the truce proposal shows that the head of the movement’s political bureau in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, “does not want a humanitarian agreement or the return of the hostages” who have been detained in the Strip since the Al-Aqsa Flood operation carried out by the Palestinian resistance on October 7.

He stressed that Israel "will continue with full force to achieve the goals of the war against Hamas, and will make every effort to return the 133 kidnapped people from Gaza as soon as possible."

Yesterday, Saturday, Hamas confirmed that it had responded to the truce proposal, and reaffirmed its demands based on a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the occupation army from the entire Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced to their areas and places of residence, intensifying the entry of relief and aid, and the start of reconstruction.

For months, Qatar, Egypt and the United States have been leading indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas with the aim of reaching a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip and an exchange of prisoners and detainees between the two parties.

The latest proposal presented by the mediators stipulates the release of 42 Israeli detainees in exchange for the release of 800 to 900 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, the entry of 400 to 500 trucks of humanitarian aid daily and the return of the displaced to northern Gaza.

Since October 7, the Israeli army has been waging a devastating war on Gaza that has left tens of thousands of martyrs and wounded, most of them children and women, in addition to widespread destruction of infrastructure and an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.


Share your opinion

Smotrich demands to invade Rafah and control the entire Gaza Strip