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Israel-Hamas war: Netanyahu rejects calls for cease-fire

Published October 30, 2023last updated October 30, 2023

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would "fight until this battle is won," as ground operations continue. Meanwhile, Russian President Putin blamed the US for "deadly chaos" in the Middle East. DW has the latest.

Smoke rises amid buildings in Gaza following an Israeli strike
The IDF claimed several militants in the Gaza Strip were killed in Israeli raids of tunnels and civilian buildingsImage: Ismael Mohamad/UPI/IMAGO
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Netanyahu says cease-fire 'will not happen' during press conference
  • Israeli tanks spotted on fringes of Gaza City
  • At least 33 trucks have entered Gaza carrying water and food amid global calls for increased aid assistance
  • The family of Shani Louk have confirmed that the German citizen missing since the October 7 terror attacks is dead
Skip next section Israeli military spokesperson: Cease-fire 'not on the table'
October 30, 2023

Israeli military spokesperson: Cease-fire 'not on the table'

DW spoke to Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Jonathan Conricus regarding current Israeli military actions in Gaza.

When asked about the possibility of a "humanitarian pause" in Gaza, Conricus said it is in the IDF's interest "to make the best situation possible for civilians" in Gaza. 

"They are not our enemy," Conricus said of Gaza civilians, while discussing efforts by the US, Egypt and Israel to facilitate aid to Gaza.

Jonathan Conricus (IDF) speaks to DW

At the same time, Conricus rejected the idea of a cease-fire in Gaza, as Netanyahu said earlier.

"We have to be clear: Any cessation in fighting will be used by Hamas for their purposes. That is not on the table. I don't see it on the table," Conricus said. 

"What we are focused on is dismantling Hamas and making sure that this never happens again and of course bringing back our hostages," the military spokesperson added, referring to the Hamas terror attacks on October 7.

Skip next section UNWRA chief decries 'collective punishment' on Gaza, urges cease-fire
October 30, 2023

UNWRA chief decries 'collective punishment' on Gaza, urges cease-fire

The top official of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) criticized Israel's actions in Gaza during an address to the UN Security Council.

The IDF launched airstrikes and a ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza, after Hamas committed terror attacks within Israel on October 7. Israel has also restricted electricity, food and water to the people living in the Gaza Strip as it conducts its military operation. 

UNWRA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini decried Israel's siege on Gaza as "collective punishment." He reiterated his belief that "no place is safe in Gaza" amid Israeli airstrikes and said evacuation orders for Gazans to move south are "forced displacement."

Lazzarini also said more aid trucks must enter Gaza to fulfill "humanitarian needs."

"The system in place to allow aid into Gaza is geared to fail unless there is political will to make the flow of supplies meaningful, matching the unprecedented needs," Lazzarini said.

Lazzarini said 64 of his UNWRA colleagues had died in the past three weeks since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. 

"My UNWRA colleagues are the only glimmer of hope for the Gaza Strip, a ray of light as humanity sinks into its darkest hour," Lazzarini said.

Lazzarini urged a "humanitarian cease-fire" to facilitate aid into Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the idea of a cease-fire at this time.

Skip next section Putin blames US for Middle East crisis
October 30, 2023

Putin blames US for Middle East crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the United States and for what he called "deadly chaos" in the Middle East.

"Who is organizing the deadly chaos and who benefits from it today, in my opinion, has already become obvious. ... It is the current ruling elites of the US and their satellites who are the main beneficiaries of world instability," Putin said in a televised statement.

The Russian leader said the key to resolving the Middle Eastern conflict was the creation of a sovereign, independent, full-fledged Palestinian state.

He also accused Western intelligence agencies and Ukraine of helping to foment unrest in Dagestan, where a mob stormed an airport Sunday night in search of passengers who had just arrived from Israel.

Putin called on Russian law enforcement to take "firm, timely and clear actions to protect Russia's constitutional order, the rights and freedoms of our citizens, interethnic and interreligious harmony."

Skip next section Netanyahu says cease-fire in Gaza would be 'surrender to Hamas'
October 30, 2023

Netanyahu says cease-fire in Gaza would be 'surrender to Hamas'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a cease-fire in the Gaza war "will not happen" as it would be "to surrender to Hamas." 

"Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. This will not happen," he said.

The Israeli leader also told a press conference that other countries must give more help in the struggle to free more than 230 hostages seized by Hamas in its October 7 attacks. 

Vowing that Israel would "fight until this battle is won," Netanyahu said the army was going out of its way to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza. He said Hamas was responsible for the high death toll in Gaza, accusing the group of using civilians as human shields.

Netanyahu also said all wars have unintended civilian casualties and Israel's assault on Gaza, which Hamas controls, was a battle between "civilization and barbarism," according to Reuters.

The Israeli leader also said he has no plans to resign, despite a public uproar over apparent security failures linked to the deadly October 7 Hamas raid that killed over 1,400 Israelis and sparked the current Israel-Hamas war.

Netanyahu: 'This is a time for war'

Skip next section Israel has been 'let down' by UN, Israeli envoy says
October 30, 2023

Israel has been 'let down' by UN, Israeli envoy says

Israelis have been failed by the United Nations, Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva said.

"Generally, the United Nations has let down the people of Israel," Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar told reporters, naming the World Health Organization specifically.

Shahar claimed that the global agency had not done enough to condemn rising levels of antisemitism and the attacks on Israel by Hamas, 

Hamas is designated by the United States, EU and Germany as a terrorist group.

Skip next section Israel army says female soldier hostage freed in Gaza
October 30, 2023

Israel army says female soldier hostage freed in Gaza

A female Israeli soldier was freed from captivity in the Gaza Strip during the military's ground operation, the Israel Defense Forces said.

"Last night, soldier Ori Megidish was released during a ground operation after being kidnapped by Hamas on October 7," the army said in a statement.

It added that she had since undergone medical checks and was "doing well." The military did not give details on the circumstances of her release.

The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a photograph of Megidish in which she is seen surrounded with her family members.

Skip next section Killing of Shani Louk shows Hamas 'barbarism,' says German chancellor
October 30, 2023

Killing of Shani Louk shows Hamas 'barbarism,' says German chancellor

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has decried the killing of German-Israeli citizen Shani Louk at the hands of Hamas as "barbarism."

The Israeli government confirmed on Monday that 22-year-old Shani, missing since the October 7 terror attacks, was dead.

She had been attending a music festival in southern Israel, near the Gaza border, when Hamas militants carried out their rampage.

"For me, this news is terrible," Scholz said during a trip to Africa. "This shows all the barbarism that lies behind Hamas."

"Here, a human being has been murdered in a brutal way," he added. "This is something that we as human beings can only despise."

The chancellor also called for Hamas to be held to account.

The Palestinian militant group is designated a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Germany and other governments. 

Skip next section Kyiv rejects Russia's accusations over Dagestan riots
October 30, 2023

Kyiv rejects Russia's accusations over Dagestan riots

Ukraine has dismissed claims from Russia that Kyiv orchestrated an anti-Israeli riot at an airport in Dagestan, a Muslim-majority republic in Russia's North Caucasus region.

On Sunday night, hundreds of rioters, most of them young men, broke through barriers at Dagestan's Makhachkala airport to attack passengers arriving on a flight from the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. At least 20 people were injured in the unrest and 60 people were arrested. 

Earlier on Monday, Russia accused Ukraine of playing "a direct and key role" in the events at the airport.

But Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said blaming Kyiv for the violence was like trying to "shift responsibility from a sick person to a healthy one."

"The events in Makhachkala reflect deep-rooted antisemitism of Russian elites and society," he said in a post on Facebook.

Following the violence in Dagestan, Israel called on Russian authorities to protect Israelis and Jews in their jurisdictions. 

Skip next section Tanks spotted on Gaza's main north-south road
October 30, 2023

Tanks spotted on Gaza's main north-south road

Israeli tanks have briefly advanced into the fringes of Gaza City as the army ramped up its war on Hamas

"Dozens" of tanks were reported to have entered the Zaytun district in southern part of Gaza city, cutting a key road from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip for over an hour. 

"They have cut the Salahedin road and are firing at any vehicle that tries to go along it," one resident told the AFP news agency. 

Israeli jets were reported to have bombed a section of the road, leaving large craters.

The Israeli military says it has killed dozens of Islamist militants in hundreds of strikes, hitting more than 600 targets in 24 hours. That figure, in one of the most intense days of the conflict so far, is up from 450 the previous day.

Skip next section Hamas releases video claiming to show hostages
October 30, 2023

Hamas releases video claiming to show hostages

The militant Islamist group Hamas has released a video purporting to show three women who were captured during its October 7 attack inside Israel.

In a brief statement, likely given under duress, one of the women criticizes Israel's response to the hostage crisis. 

Palestinian militants are believed to have captured an estimated 239 people during the raids on Israel. 

They have said they would release them in return for thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody. Israel has dismissed the offer.

Domestic pressure is mounting on the Israeli government to ensure the release of hostages seized by Hamas.

Family members of the Israeli captives met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday and expressed support for an exchange.

Speaking after the release of the video on Monday, Netanyahu described it as "cruel psychological propaganda." He said his government would do everything to bring the hostages home.

Hamas has been designated a terror organization by the US, EU, Israel and other governments.

Israeli families angry over fate of hostages

Skip next section Be'eri kibbutz resident prays for return of family members
October 30, 2023

Be'eri kibbutz resident prays for return of family members

Shaked Haran, whose family lived in Be'eri kibbutz in southern Israel, has told DW she fears that "every day that goes by" puts her relatives — held hostage by Hamas militants — at greater risk.

The Islamist militant group killed her father, aunt and uncle during the terror attack on Israeli communities on October 7. Several of Haran's family members were also taken hostage.

"What we know is that they were taken alive. We haven't received any further information," she said. "I'm praying that my family would be brought back alive."

Some of her missing relatives have Austrian, German and Italian citizenship. Haran said she hoped governments were doing all they could to secure their release. 

Israel-Gaza war: Relative of Hamas hostages demands action

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by Germany, the EU, Israel, and the US among others.

"We had official declarations of Germany that it is taking steps in order to care for the German citizens there. I don't know what this practically means behind the scenes," she added.

"I fear that every day that goes by risks my family and risks the babies that are there, the many women and many children that are held hostage. And that's why we really, really hope that these governments are doing whatever they can to bring these people back," she said.

Haran said she held on to the hope "that I will get to meet my family, that I will hug my small niece."

"My personal feelings, since day one, are between horror and hope," she said. "I'm in fear and terror of what they're going through and I feel helpless and that there is not enough being done to bring them back."

Skip next section Germany calls on Israel to 'protect' West Bank Palestinians from 'extremist settlers'
October 30, 2023

Germany calls on Israel to 'protect' West Bank Palestinians from 'extremist settlers'

Berlin has urged Israel to "protect" Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

"Israel, as the occupying power in the West Bank, is responsible for ensuring the safety and integrity of the Palestinian population in the West Bank," German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sebastian Fischer said.

"We call on Israel to protect Palestinians from the activities of extremist settlers and to hold those responsible accountable," he said.

"It must be ensured that Palestinian families can remain where they have resided for decades and are not forced to leave their ancestral homes out of fear for life and limb," he added.

Some 700,000 Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem.

According to the Palestinian Authority, 121 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since October 7, when the Hamas militant Islamist group, which governs the Gaza Strip, launched attacks in Israel.

Germany is a close ally of Israel and has stressed Israel's right to defend itself following the attacks by Hamas.

Hamas is classified by Germany, Israel, the United States and others as a terrorist organization.

Skip next section Israel balancing 'contradicting goals' in ground offensive, analyst tells DW
October 30, 2023

Israel balancing 'contradicting goals' in ground offensive, analyst tells DW

Gil Murciano, the CEO of MITVIM, the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies think tank, told DW that Israeli authorities were trying to balance between "three impossible or contradicting goals" in its ground operations in the Gaza Strip.

Murciano said Israel's government had the "stated goal of bringing [about] the collapse of Hamas," as well as the goal of "bringing back the hostages." He said that Israel was also under Egyptian and US pressure to allow a "humanitarian corridor" for civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Murciano argued that Israel was balancing these three different goals by engaging in "large-scale raids" rather than launching a "ground offensive to conquer Gaza."

He said that while the "entire society" in Israel was "recruited and mobilized in order to fight Hamas," public approval of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "incredibly low" and constituted "open animosity" towards the leader.

Murciano added that there was "very high" public trust towards the "army and security establishment," combined with "total mistrust for the political leadership."

What is the two-state solution?

He argued that coexistence between Israel and Hamas was a "dead end." He added that "the ability to create an alternative to Hamas is obviously connected to [...] the renewal of a political process between Israelis and Palestinians."

The analyst called for "international" and "regional" involvement in a political process over the status of the Palestinian territories. He added that this would only be possible after the removal of Hamas and the fall of Israel's current right-wing government.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, Germany, the United States, the European Union and others.

Skip next section Russia blames anti-Israel airport riot on 'external interference'
October 30, 2023

Russia blames anti-Israel airport riot on 'external interference'

Russia has accused outside forces of fomenting an anti-Israel riot that broke out at an airport in the southwestern region of Dagestan.

"Yesterday's events at Makhachkala airport are, to a large extent, the result of external interference," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said at a press conference.

The multiethnic, Muslim-majority Dagestan autonomous republic lies in Russia's northern Caucasus region. Russian police said they arrested 60 people suspected of storming the airport and seeking to attack passengers of a plane that had flown in from Israel.

"Against the backdrop of TV footage showing the horrors of what is happening in the Gaza Strip — the deaths of people, children, old people, it is very easy for enemies to take advantage of and provoke the situation," Peskov said.

The spokesperson said that President Vladimir Putin will meet with his top advisers to discuss "the West's attempts to use the events in the Middle East to split Russian society."

Russian state media cited the Governor of Dagestan as claiming that the "initiators of this action are our enemies who organized it from Ukrainian territory."

Skip next section Death of German missing since Hamas terror attacks confirmed
October 30, 2023

Death of German missing since Hamas terror attacks confirmed

The mother of Shani Louk, a German citizen believed to have been taken hostage by the Hamas militant group, says she has received information from the Israeli military that her daughter is dead.

"Unfortunately, we received the news yesterday that my daughter is no longer alive," Ricarda Louk told German broadcaster RTL/ntv.

Her sister Adi also confirmed Shani's death in a post on Instagram.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of my sister, Shani Nicole Z.L. [may her memory be a blessing], who was on October 7, 2023, at the party massacre in Re'im."

The Israeli Foreign Ministry also confirmed the death.

Shani Louk
Shani Louk had not been heard from since the October 7 terror attacks on IsraelImage: shanukkk/instagram

In the immediate aftermath of the October 7 terror attacks by Hamas, pictures and videos shared online showed a young woman, believed to be Shani, lying face down in a pick-up truck driven by militants. It was unclear from the footage whether she was alive.

Hamas militants killed at least 1,400 people during their assault on Israeli communities near the Gaza border. They also took at least 229 people hostage, including several Germans. Dozens of others are unaccounted for, according to the Israeli military.

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