Netanyahu: Israel's Efforts to Minimize Gaza Casualties Ineffective, Blames Hamas Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently acknowledged that Israel has not been successful in minimizing civilian casualties during the ongoing conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, he placed the blame squarely on Hamas, accusing them of intentionally putting civilians in harm's way. Netanyahu's remarks come as the conflict between Israel and Hamas enters its second week, with no sign of a ceasefire in sight. The death toll continues to rise, with hundreds of Palestinians and several Israelis killed, including many women and children. The Israeli Prime Minister expressed regret for the loss of innocent lives but stressed that Israel is doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. He pointed out the challenges faced by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in targeting Hamas militants who often operate from densely populated areas, using civilians as human shields. "We are not successful in achieving zero civilian casualties, but Hamas is responsible for this because it is using civilians as human shields," Netanyahu said during a press briefing. The Israeli military has long accused Hamas of using civilian infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, and residential buildings, to store weapons, launch rockets, and conduct military operations. Israel has also accused Hamas of deliberately placing its rocket launchers near schools and mosques, exploiting the protected status of these locations under international law. Netanyahu reiterated Israel's commitment to minimizing civilian casualties, despite the challenges posed by Hamas tactics. He cited various precautions taken by the IDF, including dropping leaflets and making phone calls to warn civilians before targeting Hamas positions. "We are hitting Hamas with unprecedented force, but we are also taking unprecedented steps to minimize civilian casualties," he said. The Israeli Prime Minister also defended Israel's right to self-defense, emphasizing that no country would tolerate the incessant rocket attacks on its civilians. Since the conflict escalated, thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza towards Israeli cities, triggering a wave of airstrikes and artillery bombardment in response. Netanyahu stressed that Israel's military actions are aimed solely at dismantling Hamas' military infrastructure and preventing further attacks on Israeli civilians. He pointed out that Israel has successfully intercepted many of the rockets fired by Hamas using the Iron Dome defense system, which has saved countless lives. "Our goal is to restore peace and security for the long term. We have no desire to harm the people of Gaza," Netanyahu stated. International calls for a ceasefire have been mounting, with numerous world leaders urging an end to the hostilities. The United States has been actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to broker a truce, with President Joe Biden speaking to Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in separate phone calls. Meanwhile, the United Nations has expressed deep concern over the growing number of Palestinian civilian casualties and the extensive damage to infrastructure, including schools and hospitals. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation. In response to the international pressure, the Israeli Prime Minister stated that his government is considering various factors, such as the operational goals achieved and the level of deterrence, before agreeing to a ceasefire. He emphasized that any cessation of hostilities must guarantee a sustained period of calm and prevent further attacks from Hamas. "While we are pursuing this operation vigorously, it could take time. We will continue to act to restore calm and security to Israeli citizens," Netanyahu said. The international community remains deeply divided over how to resolve the conflict, with some nations calling for a two-state solution and others condemning Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The United States, traditionally a staunch Israeli ally, has faced mounting criticism from progressive Democrats for its perceived failure to exert more pressure on Israel. As the fighting shows no signs of abating, the suffering of civilians on both sides continues to escalate. The impact of the conflict extends beyond the loss of lives and physical destruction, with long-lasting psychological trauma affecting countless individuals, particularly children. Efforts to reach a ceasefire are ongoing, but a lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains elusive. Netanyahu's acknowledgment of Israel's failure to completely prevent civilian casualties highlights the complexity of the situation and the challenges faced by all parties involved. Ultimately, achieving a peaceful and sustainable solution will require a concerted effort from the international community, as well as a genuine commitment from both Israel and Hamas to prioritize the lives and well-being of innocent civilians.
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