As Israel continued its bombardment of Gaza on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “conquering” the besieged Gaza Strip is a possible option to achieve his goals.
“You can either conquer them — and that’s always an open possibility — or you can deter them,” Netanyahu said of Hamas during a speech at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv. “We are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say, we are not ruling out anything.”
A minister in Netanyahu’s Likud party also discussed the idea of Israel conquering Gaza on Wednesday, something he said was an inevitability. “There will be no way to avoid one day temporarily taking over Gaza,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Ynet on Wednesday. “That day has not arrived for all kinds of reasons. I think the day will come, if not now then in the coming year,” he added.
Since 2005, Israeli soldiers and settlers have not occupied territory within Gaza’s borders. But the territory is still considered under occupation since Israel controls Gaza’s air space, waterways, and border crossings. Since 2007, Gaza has been under a full blockade.
President Biden spoke with Netanyahu by phone on Wednesday. According to the White House, Biden said he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire.” But after the call, Netanyahu said he is “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met.”