Dozens of militants have surrendered in recent days as the Israeli military intensifies its military effort to crush Hamas and kill its leadership, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
Netanyahu said the world is seeing “the beginning of the end” for Hamas and its leader, Yahya Sinwar.
“They lay down their weapons and surrender themselves to our heroic warriors,” Netanyahu said in a video broadcast. “It will take more time, the war is in full swing, (but) I say to the Hamas terrorists it is over. Don’t die for Sinwar. Surrender − now.”
Hamas issued a statement saying Israel was detaining unarmed civilians and surrounding them with weapons in a “desperate and transparent ploy” to give the appearance that the resolve of the militants was fading.
Netanyahu’s bold prediction came one day after the U.N. General Assembly’s latest, historic resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire was vetoed by the U.S. Israel and its most supportive ally are finding fewer global supporters as the Palestinian death toll continues to rise.
∎ Tzachi Hanegbi, the head of Israel’s National Security Council, said Palestinian detainees are stripped to their underwear when arrested for security concerns. Photos showing the stripped men drew protest from Human Rights Watch and other advocacy groups.
∎ Hamas urged workers worldwide to join a general strike called for Monday in Gaza, urging the “free people of the world to participate in the strike in protest against the Israeli occupation’s genocidal war and atrocities against civilians” in Gaza.
∎ The Israeli military said its fighter jet attack “eliminated” Hamas battalion commander Emad Karika, who had taken command of Hamas forces in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City after his predecessor was killed earlier in the war.
Israel strikes in Gaza continue:US vetoes unusual UN cease-fire resolution
Blinken defends US veto, says cease-fire would ‘perpetuate the problem’
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, making the rounds at Sunday morning news shoes, defended the U.S. veto of a cease-fire resolution before the U.N. General Assembly.
Blinken, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” said the Biden administration was “deeply aware of the terrible human toll” the war was taking on civilians, including women and children. But he said Israel’s effort to eliminate Hamas was a legitimate goal.
The militant group could end the bloodbath if it stopped fighting and “got out of the way of civilians instead of hiding behind them,” he said.
“When it comes to a cease-fire in this moment, with Hamas still alive, still intact, and again, with the stated intent of repeating Oct. 7 again and again and again, that would simply perpetuate the problem,” Blinken added.
WHO urges warring parties to protect civilians and health workers
The World Health Organization adopted a resolution Sunday calling for “immediate, sustained and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief, including the access of medical personnel” into Gaza. It calls on all parties to fulfill international humanitarian law obligations aimed at protecting civilians and medical personnel during war.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the resolution was a starting point and urged all U.N. member states to work toward ending the conflict as soon as possible.
“It is a platform on which to build,” Tedros said. “Without a ceasefire, there is no peace. And without peace, there is no health.”
Gaza tragedy by the numbers
The Gaza Strip is a sliver of land less than 25 miles long and 7 miles wide. More than 2 million Palestinians live there, but the U.N. refugees agency says almost 90% of them have fled their homes amid the pounding Israeli bombardment and land assault since Oct. 7.
The agency said last week that almost 1.2 million internally displaced Palestinians were sheltering in 151 UN installations. Four of those locations, in and around the Central Gaza City of Kahn Yunis, were evacuated last week at the instruction of the Israeli Army.
More than 130 UNRWA workers have been killed since the war began, the agency said. The Gaza Ministry of Health says at least 17,000 Palestinians have been reported killed in Gaza, about 70% of them women and children. More than 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, according to Israeli authorities, the vast majority of them the day Hamas attacked.