Netanyahu says Israel could ‘conquer’ Gaza if ‘deterrence’ not achieved

PM tells foreign envoys Israel in no hurry to reach a ceasefire with Hamas: ‘We’re not standing with a stopwatch’

19 May 2021

with the Gaza Strip, at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, May 19, 2021. (Prime Minister’s Office)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel was pursuing a policy of deterring the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers from launching attacks but did not rule out a further escalation, including “conquering” the Palestinian enclave.

Netanyahu gave a briefing to some 70 foreign diplomats at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, where he filled them in on the situation after over a week of fighting that has seen Gaza terror groups rain rockets down on Israel, which has responded with pounding airstrikes on Gaza.

There is increasing international pressure for the two sides to agree, via mediators, on a ceasefire.

Speaking of Gaza’s rulers, the Hamas terror group, which has led the rocket attacks, Netanyahu said, “You can either conquer them — and that’s always an open possibility — or you can deter them.”

“We are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say, we are not ruling out anything,” the prime minister said.

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