Netanyahu’s ultimatum: “No Palestinian state as long as I am there.” The tunnels where the hostages were held have been found

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By John

Benjamin Netanyahu slams the door in his face again Joe Biden and to the EU: as long as he is prime minister, there will be no Palestinian state, much less with sovereignty over Gaza. Despite the unanimous requests to this effect from Washington, Brussels and practically all the main European capitals. “I made it clear to the US president – said the prime minister after the conversation between the two on Friday – Israel’s determination to achieve all the objectives of the war and to guarantee that Gaza no longer represents a threat to Israel”. The Strip must be “demilitarized” and “remain under full Israeli security control”, Netanyahu insisted, rejecting “the enormous pressure from outside and inside the country”.

“It was this obstinacy of mine – the prime minister claimed – that prevented for years” the creation of “a Palestinian state which would have constituted an existential danger for Israel. As long as I am prime minister, this will be my position”. Also returned to the sender the requests posed by Hamas for the release of the hostages: it would mean that the Israeli soldiers “died in vain” because the Palestinian faction is calling for “the army’s exit from Gaza and its continuation in power”. Two conditions that are impossible for him. Netanyahu has thus deepened the rift even further with the Biden administration and with Europe, in a tug of war on which he has evidently decided to stake all his cards to stay in the saddle.

In light of this – while in Gaza the deaths reported by Hamas have exceeded the threshold of 25 thousand and the army found a tunnel in which some of the hostages were held – the mediation attempts by the USA, Qatar and Egypt reported by the WSJ for a resumption of negotiations on the ceasefire and the release of the hostages seem destined for yet another failure. The proposal – which includes a 90-day plan in three phases – contains for example the request, already rejected by the Netanyahu government, for the total withdrawal of the army from Gaza at the end of the three months. However, Biden is not giving up and, as the Axios website reports, he intends to continue pushing for a major agreement in the Middle East, with the hope that it can materialize before the November elections despite Netanyahu’s opposition. According to the plan, Israel should obtain the normalization of relations with Riyadh in exchange for an “irreversible” path towards a Palestinian state and a role for the PNA in Gaza in the post-Hamas era.

Very difficult to pass with Bibi still in power. To help put pressure on Tel Aviv, the EU could explain tomorrow at the Foreign Affairs Council – which sees the participation of Israeli and Palestinian ministers – “the consequences” it plans to adopt in the event that Israel definitively rejects the peace plan with the 2-state solution. Even this is unlikely to be enough to impress Netanyahu. The fact is that on the 107th day of the war the general secretary Antonio Guterres He denounced that “Israel’s military operations have caused mass destruction and killed civilians on an unprecedented scale” during his tenure. “This – he added, referring to the 25,105 deaths since the beginning of the war, according to Hamas’ toll – is heartbreaking and absolutely unacceptable. The Middle East is a powder keg, we must do everything possible to prevent the conflict from igniting throughout the region US intelligence sources have told the media that Israel has eliminated “only between 20 and 30%” of Hamas forces, with the latter still able to resist for months; while Israel – according to the WSJ – He estimated that around 10,000 Hamas militants were killed.

Meanwhile, the army continues its hunt for hostages and has discovered a tunnel, at a depth of 20 meters and 1 kilometer long, under the house of a Hamas representative in Khan Yunis. There, the military spokesman said, 20 hostages were held “in inhumane conditions”. Also found were drawings of an Israeli girl, later released, and traces of the DNA of some of the kidnapped people. But protests against the government are now spreading in Israel. After Caesarea and Tel Aviv, the demonstrations moved to Jerusalem under Netanyahu’s official residence. «For the hostages – said the families of the kidnapped – there is no time to waste. The prime minister and the war cabinet have no right to delay” on an agreement to send them home.