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Intense phase of Gaza War almost done, next we will face north, says Netanyahu in first Hebrew media interview since Oct 7

Prime minister again rules out Jewish settlement of Gaza following war

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview on Channel 14's "Patriots" television show with Yinon Magal, June 2024. (Photo: Screenshot)

In his first interview with an Israeli television channel since the start of the Gaza War, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the IDF’s operations in Gaza, the threat from Hezbollah in the north, the hostage deal and Israeli politics. 

Speaking to Channel 14, a right-wing news channel that has generally supported the coalition government, Netanyahu said the intense phase of the Gaza War in Rafah is about to end. 

“It doesn’t mean that the war is about to end, but the war in its intense phase is about to end in Rafah,” Netanyahu clarified. 

He added that the end of the intense phase would still require IDF action in Gaza, which he called “mowing the grass,” and said the military would transfer some troops to the north.

“After the end of the intense phase,” Netanyahu said, “we will have the option to redeploy some forces to the north. Partially for defense purposes, but also to return our residents home.” 

The prime minister promised to “bring everyone back home, every resident of the North and the residents of the South.” 

Asked about an agreement with Hezbollah, Netanyahu replied: “If there is an agreement, it will be an agreement on our terms,” and affirmed that such terms do not include “to end the war, to exit Gaza and leave Hamas intact.” 

However, when asked about an agreement with Hamas, Netanyahu stated that he is willing to make a partial agreement for the release of some captives, but crucially, not one that forces Israel to end the war. 

“We are required to continue the war after the ceasefire to complete the war goal of defeating Hamas.” 

The prime minister said the day after in Gaza would begin with IDF control before moving toward a local authority which might include Arab states helping out. 

“First of all, Hamas must be eliminated,” Netanyahu emphasized. “The military control in the foreseeable future will be ours, I don't see another entity. We've acted against them in the last three operations. There may be external support from the region's countries. I'm not ready for a Palestinian state. I'm not ready to hand over Gaza to the Palestinian Authority.” 

Despite the unpopularity of this stance with Channel 14's right-wing audience, Netanyahu stated that he does not support calls for Jewish settlements in Gaza. The prime minister reiterated his assessment that IDF control would be necessary for some time but ruled out the possibility of establishing settlements.

“Maybe you think that way, and many here think that way,” Netanyahu responded regarding settlement in Gaza, “I think it’s not realistic. It’s not realistic and it doesn’t support the goals of our war.” 

"Military control will continue in the hands of the IDF," Netanyahu stated, "in the end, we will have to do two things: demilitarize the Gaza Strip and establish a government in the Gaza Strip managed by moderate countries in the region."

When asked about proposing another deal with Hezbollah in the north after the failed agreement from UN Security Council Resolution 1701, Netanyahu responded, “The agreement will not be an agreement on paper. It will include physically removing Hezbollah from the border, and we will have to enforce it. We will look at it [an agreement], but we are prepared.” 

"We can fight on several fronts, and we are also preparing for that," he stated.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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