Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that the 11-day campaign of Israeli bombing in Gaza had an “extraordinary” outcome, resulting in the deaths of more than 200 members of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. the organization at the head of the Palestinian enclave, which the president said Israel would have invaded by land “if necessary”.
“Israel has achieved all of its goals in Gaza in an extraordinary way, and we have dealt a blow to Hamas that it could not have imagined,” by destroying much of the underground infrastructure of tunnels and galleries that the organization uses for weapons and Transported explosives.
“We have turned them (the tunnels) into a death trap,” the Prime Minister added at a press conference following the declaration of a ceasefire between the two parties after 11 days of bombing each other. The Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed in recent hours that 243 people have been killed in Gaza as a result of Israeli bombings, while the Israeli government has confirmed 12 deaths as a result of rocket attacks by Palestinian militias.
The Prime Minister has welcomed the work of his military and the strategy followed in attacking the enclave. “There are things I can’t tell the public, but we’ve done new and daring things,” said Netanyahu, whose government was forced to withhold information on a possible invasion of the Gaza Strip in the countryside, an area that has been around since Hamas was blocked by Israeli forces taking over in 2007.
“If a land invasion had been necessary, we would have done it, but I thought we could achieve the goal in a safer way,” said the prime minister during his appearance, reported by the Times of Israel.
Regarding the balance of Hamas victims, Netanyahu has returned to the balance that the Israeli army had established hours earlier. Around 225 members of the Islamist movement were killed in the attacks, and it was suggested that at least 25 of them were largely responsible for the Palestinian organization. “And the ones we didn’t reach,” he added, “now they know we can do it.”
Netanyahu added that the operation “changed the terms of the equation with Hamas” and stressed that Israel had made “extreme efforts” not to harm Palestinian civilians in Gaza; Measures which, in his opinion, were not taken by any country in the world.
Next, Israeli Defense Minister and Netanyahu’s political rival Benny Gantz spoke up and applauded the operation before calling for a diplomatic solution to consolidate the ceasefire between the two sides.
“The intensity of our attacks took Hamas by surprise,” said Gantz, before calling on the prime minister “not to turn a military victory into a missed diplomatic opportunity.”
“The problems on the Strip must be treated strategically and diplomatically as a long-term problem,” added the Defense Secretary.