Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasized that Israel's objective is not to occupy Gaza but to "demilitarize and deradicalize" the Hamas-controlled enclave. In a recent CBS News interview, Netanyahu reiterated Israel's commitment to minimizing civilian casualties while aiming to eradicate Hamas.
"We want overall military responsibility to prevent the re-emergence of terror... We're not seeking to occupy. That's not our goal. But our goal is to make sure what happens there is different,” Netanyahu said.
"To do that we have to (do to) demilitarise Gaza and we have to deradicalise Gaza," he added highlighting the broader military responsibility to prevent the resurgence of terrorism.
Addressing the Israeli military raid at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, Netanyahu claimed "strong indications" that Hamas was holding hostages captured after the October 7 attack within the facility. He justified the incursion by citing intelligence about hostages being held there, emphasizing the need to act.
Israel alleges that Hamas uses the hospital as a command center and base, claims consistently denied by the militant group. Netanyahu stressed the importance of the ongoing ground offensive, stating it has pressured Hamas to consider a ceasefire and potentially secure the release of hostages.
Regarding a proposed deal to exchange prisoners, Netanyahu indicated progress, stating, "We're closer than before the ground action." He linked the potential for a temporary ceasefire to the return of hostages and maintained confidentiality on details, indicating a sensitive negotiation process.
On the topic of a two-state solution to end the crisis, Netanyahu asserted that Palestinians need a change in leadership. He proposed giving Palestinians governing powers without the ability to threaten Israel, emphasizing the necessity of demilitarizing and deradicalizing Gaza.
"I say let the Palestinians have all the powers to govern themselves, but none of the powers to threaten Israel... And that means not only making sure that Gaza is demilitarised, but also that Gaza is deradicalized,” Netanyahu asserted during the CBS News interview.
"And if you ask me, we need a different civilian leadership than the one that has been offered to the Palestinians today," he added.