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Israel: Netanyahu says Gaza ground offensive plans ongoing

Published October 25, 2023last updated October 26, 2023

In a televised address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the timing of any ground offensive would be decided by the government's war cabinet, as strikes on Gaza continue. DW has more.

A tank flying an Israeli flag
Thousands of Israeli troops along with equipment are massed in the Gaza border region Image: Ilia Yefimovich/dpa/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu says Gaza ground offensive plans should not be made public
  • UN chief Guterres responds to Israel's criticism of Security Council speech
  • The UN agency that serves displaced Palestinians says it only has enough fuel to last until Wednesday night
  • Qatar says there is 'progress' on hostage talks 
Skip next section UN Security Council fails to pass resolution on Israel-Hamas war
October 26, 2023

UN Security Council fails to pass resolution on Israel-Hamas war

The UN Security Council has failed to pass a resolution on the war between Israel and the Hamas Islamist militant group.

Russia and China vetoed a US-led draft resolution, while a Russian-led text received insufficient support after most members of the council abstained.

The US put forward a resolution that would support "humanitarian pauses" to let aid into the Gaza Strip and back the right of "all states" to self-defense within the confines of international law. The text did not call for a full cease-fire.

Russia's resolution called for "an immediate, durable and fully respected humanitarian ceasefire" and "condemns all violence and hostilities against civilians."

"It has became clear from that the US simply doesn't want UN Security Council decisions to have any kind of influence on a possible ground offensive by Israel in Gaza," said the Russian representative, Vassily Nebenzia.

"This extremely politicized document clearly has one aim — not to save civilians but to shore up the US political position in the region," he said.

The US ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, insisted that the US had incorporated feedback from the rest of the world after a draft resolution focusing on humanitarian aid failed due to a US veto.

"The United States is deeply disappointed that Russia and China vetoed this resolution," Thomas-Greenfield said. "We did listen to all of you."

Hamas is deemed a terrorist organization by Israel, Germany, the United States, the European Union and several other countries.

Skip next section Netanyahu: Israel to investigate October 7 security lapse 'later'
October 26, 2023

Netanyahu: Israel to investigate October 7 security lapse 'later'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will not yet investigate the breach of Israeli border defenses with the Gaza Strip on October 7.

"We will examine in detail, we will get to the bottom of it," he said.

"The fault will be examined and everyone will have to give answers, including me. But all this will happen later," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu's government has faced heavy criticism in Israel over the security lapse.

"As prime minister I am responsible for securing the future of the country," Netanyahu stressed.

Israel says 1,400 people were killed in the attacks by the Hamas Islamist group after militants broke through the border.

Hamas is deemed a terrorist organization by Israel, Germany, the United States, the European Union and several other countries.

Netanyahu: Israel preparing Gaza invasion

Skip next section Newly elected US House speaker proposes Israel support bill
October 25, 2023

Newly elected US House speaker proposes Israel support bill

The new Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, says his first act leading the chamber will be to introduce a resolution supporting Israel.

"The first bill that I'm going to bring to this floor in just a little while will be in support of our dear, dear friend Israel, and we're overdue in getting that done," he said.

He warned that the US' "greatest ally in the Middle East is under attack."

Johnson was elected on Wednesday, weeks after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was voted out of office and following the failed bids of three prior nominees. 

Skip next section Biden urges two-state solution as 'path for peace'
October 25, 2023

Biden urges two-state solution as 'path for peace'

In a press conference Wednesday, US President Joe Biden reiterated Israel's right to respond to the Hamas October 7 attacks and defend its citizens.

However, Biden added that Israel must do "everything in its power" to protect civilians in Gaza, who he said are the victims of the conflict between Hamas and Israel.

The US president also spoke about Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and the uptick in violence there since the Hamas attacks. 

"I continue to be alarmed about extremist settlers attacking Palestinians in the West Bank," Biden said, accusing them of pouring gasoline on a fire. "They're attacking Palestinians in places that they're entitled to be." Biden said there should be a "path for peace" that includes a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. 

"Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to live side by side in safety, dignity and in peace," said Biden. "There has to be a vision for what comes next." 

Skip next section Israel intensifies strikes on southern Gaza
October 25, 2023

Israel intensifies strikes on southern Gaza

A school operated by the UN Palestinian refugees agency (UNRWA) sheltering 4,600 people was damaged by a strike in close proximity to the building, the agency said.

The school in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza "sustained severe collateral damage from close proximity strike," the UNRWA said on social media.

The incident comes amid reports of intensified Israeli strikes on southern Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been urging residents of the besieged strip to evacuate southward for weeks.

More than 6,500 people have been killed in Gaza since the beginning of the conflict with Hamas' terror attacks on Israel on October 7, according to estimates provided by the Hamas-run health ministry on Wednesday. The numbers cannot be independently verified.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) insist they only target Hamas installations, and say the militant group installs itself among civilian infrastructure. 

The IDF said Wednesday it struck Hamas infrastructure, "including terror tunnel shafts, military headquarters, weapons warehouses, mortar launchers and anti-tank missile launchers." The IDF added that it also struck Hamas installations it claimed were set up as "blockades that prevented Gazans from evacuating to safer areas in the southern Gaza Strip."

Skip next section Netanyahu says timing of Gaza offensive will be reached by cabinet consensus
October 25, 2023

Netanyahu says timing of Gaza offensive will be reached by cabinet consensus

Benjamin Netanyahu in front of a blue background
Benjamin Netanyahu has said 'calculations' are being made for a ground assault Image: CHRISTOPHE ENA/AFP

In a televised address Wednesday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is preparing for a ground offensive, but would not provide further details, other than that the timing would be reached by consensus of the government's special war cabinet.

"Simultaneously, we are preparing for a ground invasion. I will not elaborate on when, how or how many. I will also not elaborate on the various calculations we are making, which the public is mostly unaware of and that is how things should be," he said. 

"We have already killed thousands of terrorists and this is only the beginning," he added. 

He also reiterated that civilians in Gaza move south, a call that's been repeated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for weeks.

Netanyahu has also encouraged Israeli citizens to carry arms.

He said furthermore that Israel was doing "everything possible" to bring home hostages being held by Hamas militants. Israel has estimated there are more than 200 hostages. 

The Israeli prime minister also spoke about the security lapses that made the Hamas terror attacks on October 7 in southern Israel possible. Netanyahu has faced heavy criticism since the attacks.

"We will examine in detail, we will get to the bottom of it," said Netanyahu. "The fault will be examined and everyone will have to give answers, including me. But all this will happen later," he added.

Skip next section Macron says 'massive' Israeli ground offensive would be a mistake
October 25, 2023

Macron says 'massive' Israeli ground offensive would be a mistake

French President Emmanuel Macron has said a "massive" Israeli ground operation in Gaza would be an "error."

"A massive intervention that would put civilian lives at risk would be an error," he said following a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

Sissi also warned against Israel's expected ground invasion of Gaza, stressing it was important to seek to avoid such an invasion.

"This incursion could result in a very large number of civilian victims," Sissi said during a press conference with Macron. 

The Egyptian president also added that he discussed with Macron "the importance of providing the chance and time to work for the release of more hostages and prisoners present in the Gaza Strip through calming the situation."

Earlier, France said it would send a navy ship to support the hospitals of the besieged Gaza Stip, which are facing collapse amid a strict blockade and ongoing Israeli airstrikes.

Macron said the ship would leave Toulon "in the next 48 hours.".

Macron also said his country would send a planeload of medical equipment to Egypt on Thursday, to be delivered to Gaza. He promised that "others will follow."

"There's no double standard. International law applies to everyone," Macron said in Cairo. "All victims deserve our compassion, our commitment toward a fair and sustainable peace in the Middle East." 

Emmanuel Macron and Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on stage
The French president was in Egypt for talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sissi Image: Christophe Ena/AP/dpa/picture alliance
Skip next section Israel 'wholeheartedly rejects' Erdogan comments on Hamas
October 25, 2023

Israel 'wholeheartedly rejects' Erdogan comments on Hamas

Israel said it "wholeheartedly rejects" comments made earlier by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he described the militant Hamas group as "liberators." 

"Hamas is a despicable terrorist organization worse than ISIS [the so-called 'Islamic State'] that brutally and intentionally murders babies, children, women and the elderly, takes civilians hostage and uses its own people as human shields," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat.

Haiat accused Erdogan of attempting to "defend" Hamas and using "inciting" words. 

Hamas is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the European Union, Germany and the United States, among others.

Skip next section Germany calls for aid delivery intervals in Gaza
October 25, 2023

Germany calls for aid delivery intervals in Gaza

The German government called for aid delivery intervals into Gaza but argued that a full cease-fire would not be appropriate in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

"In the current situation, trying to act as though we must make peace or have a cease-fire does not do justice to the facts," government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said at a press briefing. 

The terror attack launched on Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas is "still going on" since "more than 200 hostages, almost all civilians, have been brutally abducted and continue to be held captive," Hebestreit said. 

However, Germany supports the idea of "humanitarian windows" or "time windows in which no decisions are made, during which it is possible to bring supplies to people in need", foreign ministry spokesman Sebastian Fischer added.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also called for "humanitarian windows" of time at the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, while also underlining Israel's right to self-defence.

German foreign minister: 'We need humanitarian windows'

Skip next section UN chief Guterres says row with Israel based on 'misinterpretation'
October 25, 2023

UN chief Guterres says row with Israel based on 'misinterpretation'

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that he was "shocked" by what he described as "misinterpretations" of remarks he made a day earlier at the UN Security Council on Hamas's October 7 terror attacks on Israel.

"I am shocked by misrepresentations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council, as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas. This is false. It was the opposite," Guterres told reporters. "I believe it was necessary to set the record straight, especially out of respect for the victims and their families."

In an address Tuesday to the UN Security Council, Guterres called for an immediate cease-fire and decried "clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza."

He said Palestinians had been subjected to decades of occupation, before adding: "It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum."

Guterres 'shocked by misinterpretations' of his statements

"I spoke of the grievances of the Palestinian people. And in doing so, I also clearly stated, and I quote: 'But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas'," the UN chief added. 

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, as well as by Germany and the EU among others.

Israel lambasted Guterres's comments. 

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan called on him to resign, accusing him of "expressing an understanding" for the "terrorism and murder" of Hamas' October 7 attacks.


Skip next section Israel air strikes hit Aleppo airport for fourth time in 2 weeks
October 25, 2023

Israel air strikes hit Aleppo airport for fourth time in 2 weeks

Israel targeted Aleppo International Airport for the fourth time in less than two weeks, putting it out of service again, according to a report by Syrian state TV.

"The Israeli enemy carried out an air attack from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport," a Syrian military source told state TV.

Syria's state news agency SANA confirmed the strikes, saying the attack resulted in material damage to the airport's runway and put it out of service.

Israel bombed the airport on October 22 and knocked it out of service, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The British-based monitor said it had documented 42 strikes by Israel on Syria so far this year.

The Israeli military did not comment on the reports. Israel has been accusing Iran of delivering weapons to militant groups active in war-torn Syria via incoming flights at the airports. 

Skip next section Qatar says there is 'progress' in its hostage release negotiations with Hamas
October 25, 2023

Qatar says there is 'progress' in its hostage release negotiations with Hamas

The Qatari foreign minister has said negotiations with Hamas are ongoing to secure the release of the more than 200 hostages the militant Islamist group took during its terror attack on Israeli on October 7.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who serves as Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, said he was "hopeful" during a press conference on Wednesday.

"Regarding the progress on the hostage negotiation, it's still ongoing," Sheikh Mohammed said. "If we compare where we started and where we are right now, there is some progress and some breakthrough and we will remain hopeful."

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari also warned that any Israeli ground invasion into Gaza would complicate efforts to get the hostages back.

Skip next section Erdogan cancels plans to visit Israel, refers to Hamas as 'liberators'
October 25, 2023

Erdogan cancels plans to visit Israel, refers to Hamas as 'liberators'

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey-Israel relations had been improving up until the Hamas terrorist attacks Image: Evrim Aydin/AA/picture alliance

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he was cancelling a planned visit to Israel over what he called its "inhumane" war against Hamas militants in Gaza.

"We had a project to go to Israel, but it was cancelled, we will not go," he told lawmakers in parliament. He did not clarify when the trip had been planned to take place.

"We have no problem with the Israeli state, but we never have, and never will, accept the atrocities committed by Israel," Erdogan told lawmakers from his party in Ankara. 

He joined the chorus of international leaders calling for an immediate cease-fire. He also urged Muslim countries to work together to achieve lasting peace and called on world powers to pressure Israel into stopping its strikes on Gaza.

All sides must pull their fingers off the trigger, a cease-fire must be declared," he said.

Erdogan also referred to the Islamist group Hamas as a "liberation group" trying to "protect its land and citizens." 

Hamas is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the European Union, Germany and the United States.

Turkey and Israel had been gradually improving their relations — Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met at a UN summit in New York last month — but the Turkish president said Israel had "abused" Turkey's "good intentions."

"If he [Netanyahu] had continued with good intentions, our relations might have been different, but now, unfortunately, this will not happen either," Erdogan said.

Skip next section Hezbollah leader holds talks with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad
October 25, 2023

Hezbollah leader holds talks with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad

The leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group held talks on Wednesday with leading figures of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Lebanon's state media reported.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah met with Hamas' Saleh Al-Arouri and Islamic Jihad's Ziad al-Nakhleh in Beirut.

Lebanon's National News Agency reported that the groups met to see what was necessary to "achieve a real victory for the resistance" in Gaza.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization in the US and the EU, along with other governments. Hezbollah's militant wing along with Islamic Jihad also appear on the EU's terror list.

Israel says it has been striking Hamas targets in Gaza since the group launched a large-scale terror attack on southern Israel on October 7.

Israel has also been exchanging fire with Hezbollah militants who have claimed responsibility for launching rockets across the northern border, resulting in the evacuation of communities in the region.

Skip next section Macron to meet with Sissi in Cairo
October 25, 2023

Macron to meet with Sissi in Cairo

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to meet with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday, his office said.

Macron arrived in Israel on Tuesday, following in the footsteps of US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The French president met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, expressing his support for Israel against Hamas but also calling for a humanitarian cease-fire. He later met with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank.

Macron is also due to meet Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman. Abdullah, Abbas and Sissi previously called off a planned summit with President Biden during his trip, following the blast at the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza.

Sissi has played a role in negotiating the release of hostages held by the Hamas terror group in Gaza. Aid trucks have also been gathering on the Egyptian side of the border to bring urgent necessities to the more than 2 million people in Gaza. However, Egypt has said it is not willing to take in the people fleeing Israel's bombing campaign as refugees.

Why Egypt and Jordan don't want Palestinian refugees

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