Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that Israel intends to maintain control over security in Gaza for the indefinite future following its bloody one-month war with Hamas. Netanyahu ruled out any comprehensive ceasefire deal and suggested only tactical pauses in fighting to allow humanitarian aid into the embattled Palestinian enclave.
The remarks signal Israel’s reluctance to relinquish authority over Gaza even after inflicting immense damage on the territory and its 2 million inhabitants during intensive airstrikes and shelling. Netanyahu justified open-ended security control by asserting it is the only way to prevent renewed Hamas attacks on Israel.
“When we don’t have that security responsibility, what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn’t imagine,” Netanyahu told ABC News in an interview on November 7th.
However, the Israeli leader’s stance clashes with calls from the United States and the international community urging an immediate ceasefire and political solutions to resolve underlying grievances fueling the intractable conflict.
Biden Warns Against Full Gaza Occupation
Netanyahu’s closest ally, U.S. President Joe Biden, warned last month that a full Israeli occupation of Gaza would be a mistake. While staunchly defending Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas rockets, Biden has gently pushed Netanyahu to limit civilian deaths and allow temporary ceasefires for humanitarian reasons.
“There’ll be no ceasefire, general ceasefire, in Gaza without the release of our hostages,” Netanyahu reiterated regarding captured Israeli soldiers held by Hamas. “As far as tactical little pauses, an hour here, an hour there — we’ve had them before.”
“I suppose we’ll check the circumstances in order to enable goods, humanitarian goods to come in, or our hostages, individual hostages to leave. But I don’t think there’s going to be a general ceasefire,” the prime minister added.
These comments suggest Netanyahu wants to perpetuate Israel’s military control over the seas, skies and borders of Gaza gained after multiple past conflicts. He seeks to maintain leverage over Hamas rather than empowering Palestinian Authority officials or outside parties favored by Biden.
The month-long war has killed over 4,100 Palestinians, including many women and children, drawing intensifying global demands for a ceasefire. But Netanyahu remains resistant as Hamas keeps firing rockets in retaliation for devastating Israeli airstrikes on Gaza infrastructure and residential buildings.
UN Chief: Gaza Has Become “Graveyard for Children”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on November 7th made an impassioned plea for an immediate ceasefire, condemning the death and destruction endured by Gazan civilians trapped in the war zone.
“If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today,” the UN chief said, warning the territory has become a “graveyard for children” after a month of horrific shelling and airstrikes.
At least 61% of the over 4,100 Palestinians killed were women and children, according to the UN, often perishing in Israeli strikes targeting Hamas militants hiding in dense neighborhoods. Entire families have been wiped out in bombardments on residential buildings across the densely packed enclave.
Guterres underscored that “even wars have rules” that must be respected to spare civilians. He demanded protections for children and humanitarian access for aid workers trying to alleviate the vast suffering in Gaza.
The UN Security Council has also called for a ceasefire, but lacks consensus on more forceful actions due to U.S. support for Israel’s security priorities. Biden continues greenlighting Israeli military operations while nudging Netanyahu to limit human costs.
Tit-for-Tat Violence Fuels Calls for Political Solution
What began as protests over Palestinian evictions in Jerusalem erupted into full war after Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel starting October 7th. Israel has since conducted over 1,750 airstrikes trying to degrade Hamas’ arsenal and kill its leaders.
But the overwhelming Israeli firepower has caused exponentially more deaths and damage in Gaza compared to Hamas’ sporadic rocket attacks. Rights groups accuse Israel of indiscriminate attacks and failing to adequately warn civilians about bombings of residential towers.
Israel claims Hamas deliberately uses Gaza’s population as human shields and locates military infrastructure in civilian areas. But critics say Israel’s response has been disproportionate and failed to distinguish fighters from innocent bystanders.
“It’s a very tough enemy but we can’t let them have immunity,” Netanyahu said, defending Israeli tactics.
However, military action alone seems incapable of permanently stopping the violence given the deep animosities. Many experts argue a political solution addressing Palestinian grievances is required to achieve lasting calm and security.
Decades of Failure With Military-First Approach
Netanyahu has long favored using military force over political concessions to control Hamas and maintain security for Israelis. He argues that withdrawing from Gaza allowed Hamas to seize power in 2007 and make the territory a launchpad for rockets.
But Israel’s repeated wars and bombardment campaigns have utterly failed to achieve long-term quiet from Gaza militant groups. Hamas and other factions continue replenishing their rockets and reemerging after every clash.
Critics contend that lopsided death tolls and suffering under Israeli blockade fuel anger and desperation that feeds support for Palestinian militant groups. Political initiatives easing the humanitarian crisis offer the best hope for sustainable calm, they argue.
However, Netanyahu remains fundamentally opposed to indirect negotiations with Hamas, further Palestinian autonomy or other political solutions advocated by global leaders. He prefers perpetuating Hamas’ isolation and Gaza’s deprivation to maintain pressure and deterrence.
But his uncompromising stance has failed for 15 years to produce security in the long run. Continuing the same military-first approach seems unlikely to improve matters. The dynamics allowing Hamas to keep rearming and initiating new clashes whenever tensions escalate remain unresolved.
“There is no military solution to this conflict,” said former Israeli negotiator Gershon Baskin, emphasizing that political compromises are “the only way forward.”
No Clear Path for Rebuilding Gaza
Assuming Netanyahu gets his wish of prolonging Israeli security control over Gaza, it remains unclear who would be responsible for Gaza’s governance, reconstruction and economic development. Israel has no desire to reoccupy the impoverished territory of 2 million people.
The existing ruler Hamas is labeled a terrorist group by Israel, the U.S. and Europe, precluding engagement. The Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank is estranged from Hamas since the militant group seized Gaza in 2007 after winning elections.
This leaves Gaza in a political and economic limbo with no obvious exit. The war has destroyed vital infrastructure, roads, buildings, farmland and power lines. Over 77,000 residents have been displaced with no homes to return to.
Rebuilding after each war becomes more challenging as Gaza sinks deeper into poverty and despair under blockade. The international community grows increasingly reluctant to fund reconstruction without political progress on underlying issues.
With Hamas weakened but still dominating Gaza, while the Palestinian Authority lacks influence, the situation seems primed for continuing militant clashes, repression and deprivation. Netanyahu’s vision offers little hope of escaping this dysfunctional status quo.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted Israel will maintain security control over Gaza indefinitely following its devastating one-month war with Hamas. He ruled out a comprehensive ceasefire and political settlement, favoring only tactical pauses in fighting to allow humanitarian aid.
Netanyahu argues open-ended Israeli security oversight is the only way to prevent renewed Hamas attacks. But critics contend his uncompromising military-first approach has failed for 15 years to bring long-term stability and security.
With over 4,100 Palestinians killed, including many civilians, Israel faces growing calls for political solutions addressing root causes of the conflict. However, no clear exit or path forward is visible for governing war-ravaged Gaza under prolonged Israeli security domination. The dynamics fueling recurring clashes remain unresolved.