Thursday, May 30, 2024

Every Hamas member is a dead man, Netanyahu says

(BBC News) Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said every Hamas member was “a dead man” after the first meeting of his country’s emergency government.

Alongside him, opposition figure Benny Gantz said it was “a time for war”.

But US President Joe Biden said he had spoken to Netanyahu and made it clear that Israel must “operate by the rules of war”.

The death toll in Israel has reached 1,200. More than 1,100 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza.

Biden said he understood the anger and frustration of the Israeli people, but urged Israel to adhere to the principles of the Geneva conventions. He also warned Iran — which has welcomed the Hamas attack — to “be careful”.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu and Gantz agreed to put aside a bitter political rivalry that had escalated into widespread protests.

Gantz told Israeli citizens that the newly formed government was “united” and ready to “wipe this thing called Hamas off the face of the Earth”.

Alongside Netanyahu and Gantz, the centrist National Unity Party leader and a former defence minister, the new temporary cabinet would also include Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

The country’s main opposition leader, Yair Lapid, has not joined the alliance. However, Netanyahu and Gantz said in a joint statement that a seat would be reserved for him in the war cabinet.

“During the war period, no bills or government decisions will be promoted that do not concern the conduct of the war,” said a statement.

“All senior appointments will be automatically extended during the war period.”

The emergency government will give broader national consensus to military action. It also brings to the war cabinet two voices who are experts in military strategy. Both Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, who joins as an observer, are former Israeli military chiefs of staff.

The announcement of the new cabinet came in the wake of savage attacks by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip.

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