Updated Dec 25, 2023 - World

Netanyahu visits Israeli troops in Gaza and vows to continue war

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Israeli troops in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Israeli troops on Dec. 25. Photo: Benjamin Netanyahu/X

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday vowed to continue waging war against Hamas in Gaza, despite a growing number of international calls for a ceasefire.

Driving the news: While visiting Israeli troops in northern Gaza, Netanyahu said: "Whoever talks about stopping, there is no such thing."

  • He also posted a video to X on Monday with the comment: "With our heroic fighters in Gaza — fighting until victory!" 

Of note: Netanyahu outlined in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday the Israeli war cabinet's "three prerequisites for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza."

  • "We must destroy Hamas, demilitarize Gaza and deradicalize the whole of Palestinian society," said the subheading that summarized his points.
  • If these three things happen, Netanyahu wrote, "Gaza can be rebuilt and the prospects of a broader peace in the Middle East will become a reality."

Between the lines: Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer is expected in D.C. on Tuesday for meetings at the White House and State Department as tensions grow between the Biden administration and Israel's government over when the high-intensity phase of the war should end and what will happen in Gaza after it does, Axios' Barak Ravid reports.

  • As the death toll in Gaza mounts, Egypt has made a phased ceasefire proposal to Israel, Hamas and the U.S. and European governments, but Netanyahu's comments suggest that his war cabinet isn't immediately interested.
  • The Egypt framework ultimately would require Hamas to release the remaining Israeli hostages, for Israel to withdraw from Gaza and the formation of a new Palestinian government that would oversee both Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Hamas also doesn't appear to be keen on Egypt's proposal, with a senior official reiterating the militant group's position that it won't negotiate a "temporary or partial truce."

Zoom out: More than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began in October after Hamas' attack on Israel left 1,200 people dead as the militant group took 240 hostages — some of whom have been released and others killed.

Go deeper: Israel's goal in Gaza — and what it means for Palestinians

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's WSJ op-ed, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer's expected D.C. visit and further context.

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