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Israel's FM Eli Cohen: 'The assessment is we have about two weeks before significant international pressure'

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen seen during an interview at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, June 12, 2023. (Photo: Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Monday: "It is estimated that Israel has between two and three weeks before significant international pressure begins."

"From a political point of view, we recognize that pressure has begun on Israel. The pressure is not very high, but it is increasing," Cohen stated. "In the talks I hold, emphasis is placed on the humanitarian issue, while the aspect of identifying with Israel and shock from the massacre of October 7 has reduced. There are also those who request, not publicly, to strive for a ceasefire."

The foreign minister confirmed that Israel is working with European countries to establish a maritime humanitarian corridor to Gaza, through which equipment can enter Gaza after passing an Israeli inspection.

Cohen commented: "This is a move that could start in the near future and continue the day after."

"We currently have no interest in discussing with the world the issue of the day after because that would increase the pressure on Israel," he added.

In recent weeks, eight countries have recalled their ambassadors from Israel "for consultation."

The foreign minister claimed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is making efforts to have two or three countries return their ambassadors to Israel in the coming days or weeks.

"There is pressure coming from the other side on additional countries to recall ambassadors or sever ties, and this will increase because the military campaign is not yet in the final stages," said Cohen.

Since Oct. 7, there have been warnings of attacks against Israeli embassies around the world.

"One of our main goals of the Foreign Ministry from the beginning of hostilities is to prevent harm to our emissaries and embassies," Cohen added.

After Cohen's comments, other ministers from the Likud party criticized him in their own tweets.

Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar posted: "Our mission is to wipe out Hamas. With all due respect to political pressures, our commitment is first of all to the residents of the south and the citizens of Israel who paid heavy and terrible prices. We must win this war and return the hostages home. It will take as long as it takes."

Education Minister Yoav Kish added, "We have two objectives in this war: The elimination of Hamas and returning the captives. We will not stop until these objectives are completed."

It should be noted that Cohen did not intend to say that the operation should be stopped in three weeks, however, even if international pressure increases, Israel is determined to continue until all the objectives of the operation are achieved; the destruction of Hamas and returning the captives.

Following the condemnation, Cohen clarified himself: "From our point of view there is no hourglass – we will not stop fighting until we eliminate Hamas and return all the abductees."

Amichai Stein is a political correspondent for KAN 11.

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