Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out a longer ceasefire in the Gaza Strip for the time being during an interview on U.S. television on Monday.
“There’ll be no ceasefire, general ceasefire, in Gaza without the release of our hostages,” Netanyahu told the U.S. broadcaster ABC.
“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.”
Israel’s head of government had previously spoken to U.S. President Joe Biden about temporary ceasefires in the Gaza war.
They had discussed the possibility of “tactical pauses” to allow the civilian population to leave combat zones, provide humanitarian aid for the people in the Gaza Strip and to enable the release of further hostages, the White House announced after the telephone conversation on Monday.
At least 240 people – including U.S. citizens – are still being held by the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu said a general ceasefire would run counter to Israel’s war aims.
“It’ll hamper our effort to get our hostages out because the only thing that works on these criminals in Hamas is the military pressure that we’re exerting,” he said in the ABC interview.
According to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health, the number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip has risen to more than 10,000 since the start of the war a month ago.
These include thousands of women and children.
The Gaza Strip has been almost completely sealed off by Israel since Hamas fighters launched an unprecedented assault on Israeli communities, killing more than 1,400 including many women, children and young people and taking some 240 people hostage.