Netanyahu Rejects Ceasefire - The Genocide Continues

ON 03/18/2024 AT 12 : 44 AM

Hamas agreed this weekend to drop key parts of its short-term ceasefire requirements, but Netanyahu not budging on his demands makes a pause in fighting seem impossible for now.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the world from his War Cabinet on March 17 2024.
Israel's psychopathic Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed his War Cabinet in a meeting held on March 17, 2024. In it, he declared his refusal to consider any halt to the war and a rejection of growing calls that Israel should hold an election immediately and possibly force a change in who leads the country. Official social media account of the office of the Prime Minister of Israeli on X

“In the international community, there are those who are trying to stop the war now, before all of its goals have been achieved. They are doing so by hurling false accusations at the IDF, the Government of Israel, and the Prime Minister of Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in a special video War Cabinet briefing held yesterday and distributed over X for the world to hear.

“They are doing so by means of an effort to bring about elections now, at the height of the war,” he continued. “They are doing this because they know that elections now will halt the war and paralyze the country for at least six months. Then let it be clear: if we stop the war now, before all of its goals are achieved, this means that Israel will have lost the war, and this we will not allow.”

“Therefore, we cannot, and will not, succumb to this pressure,” he went on. “On the contrary, this simple truth only strengthens our determination to continue rejecting the pressure and fighting to the end to total victory.”

With those words and the correspondent actions agreed upon within the War Cabinet, Netanyahu sealed off what appears to have been the last possible chance for either a ceasefire or the possible change in government that even the citizens of Israel have been demanding, over Netanyahu’s handling of the war effort.

During the now approximately one month of pointless negotiation over a proposed 40-day long pause in the war in Gaza, negotiators from Qatar and Egypt who have met in Doha alternately with representatives of Hamas, Israel, and the United States have been maneuvering between Israeli demands for “total victory” and Hamas’ dictates to remove the Israeli occupiers from the Gaza Strip forever.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his War Cabinet claim to define “total victory” as the elimination of Hamas for all time as a potential threat to the people of Israel. But they really mean to eliminate all Palestinians from occupied Palestine and Israel. Since the resistance to Israeli atrocities will never end, Hamas or the resistance under some other name will never end. 

They have also stated unequivocally on multiple occasions over the last several months, including again within the last week, that will also involve the relocation of possibly as many as a million Palestinian civilians by force, out of Gaza and presumably out of the country.

Netanyahu and others have also reiterated again and again that there will be no “two-state solution” to allow the Palestinians to have their own state after the war is over. This is despite growing demands for that from multiple countries across the globe and at several levels of government, including from the United States not just Team-Biden but most recently Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in his rant calling for new elections to replace Netanyahu as a leader who he says has “lost his way”.

Hamas has also been consistent about its current position about what it would require to sign a ceasefire. The main ones were that any cessation of hostilities would be permanent rather than just temporary even from the beginning. They also demanded Israel immediately remove its military from Gaza and allow for the Palestinians to begin governing their own territory.

Other conditions Hamas asked for included a substantial surge in the receipt of humanitarian aid into Gaza, and with Israel no longer allowed to be the trustee which regulates transporting aid and manages its distribution.

Both sides also require a high number of prisoners exchanged as part of their terms if the war pauses even for a short while.

With both Israel and Hamas so far apart in what they are insisting on, Israel was preparing for its ground invasion in Rafah to begin, not really to target Hamas but to kill more children and women and terrorize Palestinians enough to compel them to leave their land voluntarily. 

The Netanyahu War Cabinet allowed for the exact date of the invasion to slide a bit beyond the original planned start on March 11, the first day of the Islamic month-long holy period of Ramadan, to slide a bit. Netanyahu said they were delaying it because they were not quite ready, which was possibly true. The extra time also gave Israel a chance to appear to be supporting the continuing negotiations for the ceasefire despite there seemingly being no basis for an agreement from either party. Israel also upped its propaganda campaign, bringing out multiple spokespersons, photos, and published more fake stories than ever which they say proved their case that they were continuing to root out Hamas agents and destroy additional strongholds and hiding places.

Israel did all this against a backdrop of soaring criticism from many of its allies that it must halt its mass murders which now have risen over 31,000 in Gaza since October 7 and rendered a million homeless.

After the previous round of peace talks failed just over a week ago, Israel’s war leaders moved to finish up formal plans for continuing the genocide in Rafah.

On March 15, Benjamin Netanyahu approved those plans and issued a formal announcement saying the invasion was imminent. As part of the announcement, he indicated there were several organizational issues still to be worked out prior to the start of the attacks. One includes bringing in sufficient ground-based military forces to deal with what Israel claims are still many thousands of Hamas present in Gaza. Another was deployment of unspecified logistics to move many hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians out of the country. A third which was not mentioned this time but has come up before was how Israel would manage the illegal seizure of both sides of the southern border of Gaza which it shares with Egypt.

In parallel, warnings from former friends of Israel came out denouncing the invasion. Among those was a particularly harsh challenge from Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s Foreign Minister.

“A large-scale offensive in Rafah cannot be justified,” she wrote in a statement released on the social media platform X. “Over a million refugees have sought protection there and have nowhere to go. A humanitarian truce is needed immediately so that more people don’t die, and the hostages are finally released.”

Then it was revealed that, almost as a miracle, Hamas had agreed to drop several of its conditions for the 40-day temporary ceasefire. In return for a first 40-day phase during which the war would pause, Hamas said it would release all the Israeli women, children, elderly and sick among the estimated 130 prisoners it is still holding. Hamas is also still requiring Israel to release hundreds of the many thousands of Palestinians abducted and being tortured. But Hamas is no longer requiring this to be the permanent ceasefire it had previously asked for, nor is it asking for Israel to pull all military forces out of Gaza at the same time.

Israel indicated over the weekend that it was studying the proposal. It also revealed it was sending a delegation to Doha to meet with Qatari and Egyptian representatives to discuss the new plan. That delegation will reportedly include senior officials from Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. It was not immediately clear at this time whether the United States would have a representative present in the meeting, but it is almost a certainty.

Politicians from multiple countries, mostly in the west, hailed the upcoming negotiations as a major positive result towards a 40-day short-term ceasefire.

Yesterday Netanyahu’s office said the Israeli prime minster would be meeting with his War Cabinet ministers to discuss what the “mandate” would be for his negotiating team as they head to Doha this week. Yet even that they would be going at all appeared to be in question at this point, as Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a fierce Zionist who supports the removal of all Palestinians from Gaza, said he is urging Netanyahu not to send anyone to Doha for this next set of negotiations.

Soon after that Hamas issued a public reminder that while they had eased their restrictions for this first 40-day ceasefire, they would never release a single hostage to Israel if the Netanyahu government did not agree to a second phase immediately following the first which included a “permanent cessation of hostilities”. Hamas also claims this is no change from its revised ceasefire proposal which it submitted last week through the Qatari-Egyptian group.

Tensions were raised further this weekend after statements were released regarding a meeting between Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ politburo head, and a delegation led by China’s Foreign Ministry and its emissary to Qatar, held late yesterday in that country’s capital city of Doha. The delegation was there, Beijing officials said afterwards, because China considers Hamas “part of the Palestinian national fabric” and wishes to continue a political relationship with the group.

That meeting appeared mostly focused on the desperate need for humanitarian aid in Gaza to address widespread starvation and what Hamas referred to as the continuing “massacres” there. But when they moved to a broader discussion of all that Hamas and the Palestinian people needed, Haniyeh restated what at this point are fully understandable “musts” for those living in illegally occupied Gaza and the West Bank, while also representing a hardening of Hamas’ ultimate position.

Israel must “quickly stop its aggression and massacres, withdraw the occupying army, return the displaced, provide shelter and reconstruction requirements, and achieve the political goals and aspirations of establishing an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty with [East] Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return and self-determination,” Haniyeh was quoted as saying in a statement released yesterday by Hamas.

Yesterday Netanyahu held his expected meeting with his War Cabinet as planned and told them all he would be moving forward immediately with the plans to invade Rafah. “Immediately” still means perhaps a week or so away as forces gather and other mobilizations are put in place, but for now it appears inevitable, despite additional ceasefire meetings to be held this week in Doha.

Along with this, Netanyahu said again that Israel would be proceeding with the forced displacement of people in Rafah if they wanted a chance to live. That is a war crime under regulations of the United Nations and other international laws.

“Our goal in eliminating the remaining terrorist battalions in Rafah goes hand in hand with enabling the civilian population to leave Rafah,” the Israeli prime minister said in a published statement.

“It’s not something we will do while keeping the population locked in place. In fact, we’ll do the very opposite, we will enable them to leave,” he continued, apparently thinking saying the final mass slaughter of the people might not be inevitable nor as horrific if they agree to being removed permanently from their homeland.

The statements were issued in connection with a summit Netanyahu was holding in Israel with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, principally regarding Gaza and Germany’s strong support for the continued genocide. 

That resulted in further push-back from multiple international leaders, including from European Union President Ursula von der Leyen, who said the bloody invasion into Rafah must be “avoided at all costs”.

Later still, as Netanyahu continued his bombardment of the media, the prime minister’s office released a video which answered any last questions about whether Israel would actively consider some change in its war plans, as well as indirectly if the planned ceasefire talks Israel plans to attend in Doha would go differently this time.

“No amount of international pressure will stop us from realizing all the goals of the war: eliminating Hamas, releasing all our hostages and ensuring that Gaza will no longer pose a threat against Israel,” Netanyahu said. “To do this, we will operate in Gaza.”

With all this, it is doubtful there will be any new temporary ceasefire in Gaza, despite calls from virtually all nations of the world that this “must” happen. If such a ceasefire happens, it seems it would only occur if Netanyahu believed it could by doing so score some political points with its colonies such as the United States, which while arguing for a ceasefire also continues to send billions of dollars of weapons to Israel and is actively involved in the massacres.

Islamic nations continue to attend closed-door meetings initiated by Iran in an effort to build a resistance coalition but the most powerful, Saudi Arabia and UAE, continue to actively support the genocide by supplying Israel. Some Sunni dictators and clerics support the genocide because they believe that it is furthering the cause of militant Islam by making people more sympathetic to the Muslim cause, and it is.

Egypt continues to block Palestinians from fleeing to safety into the Sinai and its corrupt President Sisi continues to do Israel's bidding. Sisi is apparently waiting for sufficient cash incentives. Substantial aid packages and loans have already been approved by western institutions but nowhere near the $30 billion that was promised in a leaked Israeli plan for the purging of all Palestinians from Gaza. With the marine corridor being constructed by the U.S. military to remove Palestinians from Gaza, Sisi may have played his hand too strong and not end up with billions in his personal bank account as he might have hoped.  

China and Russia were engaged in naval war games with Iran in the Persian Gulf last week as a show of solidarity, but are unwilling to confront Israel or show any significant support to Palestinians because the genocide is weakening both Israel and its western colonies. The genocide has greatly increased hatred for the U.S., EU and NATO while  increasing support for BRICS. It has also clearly exposed the gross corruption of the UN and its various institutions and amplified calls for a new international body not dominated by Israel and the U.S.

For now, the genocide will continue, because it benefits too many powerful players.