The Israeli prime minister said that Israel should take over the border zone to prevent arms smuggling and infiltration by Hamas and other militants, and that the war in Gaza and the region would not end soon.
The border zone between the Gaza Strip and Egypt should be under Israel’s control, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday as he predicted the war in the Palestinian enclave and on other regional fronts would last many more months.
Netanyahu held a news conference as Israel entered the 13th week of its war against Gaza’s ruling Hamas Islamists, which has stoked violence in the occupied West Bank and touched off attacks by resistance groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Netanyahu said that Israel should take over the border zone, known as the Philadelphi Corridor, which is currently controlled by Egypt and monitored by the UN, to prevent arms smuggling and infiltration by Hamas and other militant groups, and to ensure Israel‘s security and sovereignty.
Netanyahu said that Israel had proposed this idea to Egypt and the US, but had not received a positive response. He said that Israel was ready to act unilaterally if necessary, and that he had instructed the Israeli military to prepare a plan for the operation.
Netanyahu said that the border zone was a “strategic asset” for Israel, and that it was vital to prevent Hamas from rearming and rebuilding its tunnels and rockets, which it has used to launch thousands of attacks on Israel since the war began on October 7.
Netanyahu said that the border zone was also a “humanitarian asset” for the people of Gaza, and that it would allow the passage of goods and aid to the besieged and battered enclave, which has been suffering from shortages of food, water, fuel, medicine, and power, as well as outbreaks of diseases and infections.
Netanyahu said that the border zone was also a “political asset” for the peace process, and that it would create the conditions for a lasting and comprehensive ceasefire, and a possible resumption of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, based on the two-state solution.
Netanyahu said that the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians, and caused widespread destruction and damage in the strip, as well as in Israel, was not over yet, and that it would continue for many more months, until Hamas was defeated and disarmed, and until Israel’s security and deterrence were restored.
Attacks from All Sides
Netanyahu said that the war in Gaza had also triggered a wider regional conflict, and that Israel was facing attacks and threats from Iran and its proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria.
Netanyahu said that Israel was prepared and capable of defending itself from all these enemies, and that it had carried out hundreds of strikes and operations against them, destroying their bases, weapons, and leaders.
Netanyahu said that Israel was also supported and backed by its allies and partners, such as the US, the UK, the UAE, and India, and that it had received diplomatic and military assistance and cooperation from them.
Netanyahu said that Israel was also seeking and pursuing new alliances and relations with other countries and regions, such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and that it had signed several agreements and deals with them, in the fields of trade, technology, and security.
Netanyahu said that Israel was also striving and working to improve and normalize its ties with its Arab neighbors, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, and that it had made progress and breakthroughs with them, in the areas of intelligence, energy, and tourism.
Netanyahu said that Israel was also committed and dedicated to maintaining and enhancing its Jewish and democratic character, and that it had taken measures and steps to address and resolve the internal challenges and issues that it faced, such as the social and economic crisis, the political and legal deadlock, and the religious and ethnic diversity.
Netanyahu said that Israel was a strong and resilient nation, and that it would overcome and prevail over all the difficulties and dangers that it faced, and that it would emerge and emerge stronger and better from the war and the crisis.