Netanyahu Outlines Conditions To End Gaza Offensive, Restore Peace

In an opinion piece, Israeli PM calls for the destruction of Hamas, demilitarisation of Gaza and 'deradicalisation' of entire Palestinian society

Netanyahu Outlines Conditions To End Gaza Offensive, Restore Peace

After 80 days of waging violence in the ongoing offensive in the narrow strip of Gaza and slowly boiling violence in the West Bank and border areas of Lebanon and Syria, Israel has finally outlined a scenario where it sees an end to hostilities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu wrote an opinion piece in the American publication Wall Street Journal where he outlined the scenario for 'peace', as he vowed to continue the course of the current conflict till those conditions are met.

He bluntly outlines that a resolution to the crisis was the destruction of the Palestinian armed political arm Hamas, which rules Gaza. Moreover, Gaza, much of which has been turned into a pile of rubble by Netanyahu's forces backed by the US and currently sees a heavy contingent of Israeli ground forces still searching for Hamas command centres, must be demilitarised. To do this, he said that a "temporary security zone on the perimeter" would need to be established.

"For the foreseeable future, Israel will have to retain overriding security responsibility over Gaza," he said of his plans to complete the transformation of Gaza into a formal Israeli concentration camp.

Lastly, Netanyahu stated that the entirety of Palestinian society (no specification, whether just residents of Gaza, the West Bank or anywhere in the world) must be 'deradicalised'.

"These are the three prerequisites for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbours in Gaza," Netanyahu said.

He did not explain whether by 'deradicalisation' he means Palestinians drop their claim for an independent Palestinian state and pursue a two-state solution per UN resolutions and past Israel-Palestine agreements even if he calls them 'neighbours'.

In a meeting of his Likud party on Monday, after a reported visit to Gaza, Netanyahu repeated that they were open to the relocation of Palestinians from Gaza to other countries. A virtual flushing of Gaza of all Palestinians.

Netanyahu's global statement on a possible end to the war comes as Bethlehem cancelled Christmas celebrations to mourn victims of Israel's unrelenting, brutal and indiscriminate offensive against Gaza residents, including Christians. 

The United Nations and the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported "harrowing accounts" of Israeli violence against unarmed civilians where entire families were killed in strikes on Christmas Eve, while other reports from northern Gaza of mass execution of women and children. 

The Gaza-based health ministry has reported that so far, there have been over 20,674 fatalities, with the number of injured topping 50,000. Over 8,500 children have also been killed, while thousands are believed to be trapped under rubble or have died in places which medical personnel can no longer reach.

Not just bombs, Israel has ensured that the 2.4 million residents of Gaza are collectively punished by forcing the supply of aid to a trickle, forcing millions to the verge of starvation.

A humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza is the only way forward," said the head of the UN refugee agency, Filippo Grandi.

Regional escalation

Fears of regional escalation grew after Iran said a senior military commander, Razi Moussavi, was killed in an Israeli strike in Syria. 

Meanwhile, the US said that it had carried out air strikes on three sites used by Iran-backed forces in Iraq.

US said the strikes were in response to a "series of attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias, including an attack by Iran-affiliated Kateeb Hezbollah and affiliated groups on Arbil Air Base," a statement said.

The US says it has been the subject of 103 attacks since Israel launched an offensive on Gaza in response to the Hamas incursion of October 7. Most of the attacks were claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which opposes US support for Israel in the war.

Meanwhile, the US has drafted a shaky coalition against a blockade imposed by Yemen at the mouth of the Red Sea, preventing ships bound for Israel to use the channel.