Israel’s envoy says bombardment of Gaza to continue, ground operation needed to rescue hos...

Israel’s envoy says bombardment of Gaza to continue, ground operation needed to rescue hostages

Despite mounting casualties, Naor Gilon says Israel’s aim is to eradicate the Hamas threat at all costs

Israel will not stop the bombardment of Gaza, and still plans a ground offensive to “eradicate Hamas’s capacity” and free about 200 Israeli hostages taken by the group during terror attacks on October 7, said Israel’s Ambassador to India Naor Gilon.

Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his statements, Mr. Gilon said on October 19 that he hopes India, which has not so far designated Hamas as a terror group, would do so. Despite calls from neighbouring Arab countries for an immediate ceasefire, the envoy said that continuing with the operation was necessary for Israel’s “future”.

“The instructions that were given by the Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) were that we have to make sure that Hamas does not retain the capacity to execute such atrocities again, and to bring back the hostages… For that a ground operation is needed,” Mr. Gilon told The Hindu in an interview. 

“The alternative is that the Jewish state will not exist anymore in the Middle East,” Mr. Gilon added when asked about the high number of civilian casualties a ground invasion would involve, asserting that Israel has called for more than a million residents of Gaza to move southwards in order to protect them. “There is no future for Israel because the citizens will feel that the government is incapable of protecting them and the whole idea will not sustain,” he said.

Your paragraph text by Net Desk

In multiple terror attacks launched on several Israeli towns along the border with Gaza, Hamas fighters killed more than 1,400 Israelis, took more than 200 hostage, including many children, and continue to send rockets into the country. In its response, the Israeli air force has conducted a sustained bombing operation of Gaza, claiming to have dropped 6,000 bombs in the first six days after the terror strikes, with more than 3,700 Palestinians killed in the airstrikes in total.  

The envoy said that the support Israel received from ordinary Indians had been “overwhelming and heart-warming”, and thanked Mr. Modi for his message on October 7 expressing solidarity with Israel. When asked about subsequent statements, including the emphasis by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on following “international humanitarian law”, concern over civilian deaths as well as support for the Palestinian cause, Mr. Gilon said that these had been India’s positions in the past as well. 

“As far as Hamas being designated a terror group, going by what PM Narendra Modi said, Hamas is a terror group, regardless of whether it is designated or not, and I hope it will be done,” he added.

On October 19, Mr. Modi spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to express condolences over the deaths. The MEA spokesperson had repeated its position, adding that India “remains concerned about the humanitarian situation”, and mounting civilian casualties. Mr. Gilon said that civilians had been put at risk by Hamas’ orders not to evacuate the area, and not due to Israeli bombardment, a charge that has been denied by Gaza authorities.

The Israeli response to the attacks has led to street protests in many parts of the world, but particularly in West Asia, where the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco had overturned decades-old policy and established diplomatic ties with Israel in 2020. In addition, India joined multilateral initiatives including the I2U2 with Israel, the UAE and the U.S., as well as the recently announced “India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor” that includes Israel. Mr. Gilon said he didn’t know whether these initiatives would be a casualty of the current conflict, but said that Israel’s decision to “eradicate the Hamas threat” should be welcomed by other countries in the region. 

“After October 7, Israel is a different country,” Mr. Gilon said. “It’s not going to be another skirmish that will end in a ceasefire. Here, we will have to go to the end,” he added, indicating the decades-old conflict is entering another phase.

Your email address will not be published.