War in the Middle East: Netanyahu: Offensive in Rafah will come

Despite international warnings, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want to be dissuaded from expanding the military offensive on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

War in the Middle East: Netanyahu: Offensive in Rafah will come

Despite international warnings, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want to be dissuaded from expanding the military offensive on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

He emphasized to journalists in Jerusalem on Saturday that they would not bow to international pressure on the issue. "Anyone who wants to prevent us from operating in Rafah is ultimately telling us 'lose the war'." He won't allow that. Before the start of an offensive, the Israeli side will enable civilians in the combat areas to move to safe areas.

Israel is preparing a military offensive on the city of Rafah, which borders Egypt, in order to take action against the Islamist Hamas there too. Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people have sought protection in the town in the south of the Gaza Strip. The plans to expand Israeli operations in the overcrowded city have met with great international criticism. The USA, as Israel's most important ally, also warns against this. With regard to Rafah, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is calling for the establishment of long-term safe places for the people there.

The Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip was triggered by the unprecedented massacre with hundreds of deaths that terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups carried out in Israel on October 7th. Israel responded with an offensive that has so far killed nearly 29,000 people, according to the Hamas-controlled health authority.

Netanyahu: Will settle accounts with Hamas leadership

Netanyahu reiterated that they would “settle the score” with the Hamas leadership. This is only a matter of time. There will be no foreign regulations imposed on the question of a future peace settlement with the Palestinians. “A settlement can only be achieved through direct negotiations between both sides without preconditions,” emphasized Netanyahu.

The head of government also responded to media reports that the US and other partners could recognize a Palestinian state even without Israeli consent. Under his leadership, Israel will vehemently resist "unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state," said Netanyahu. Because after October 7th, in his view, there would be “no greater price for this unprecedented terror.”

Reports of numerous deaths

According to Palestinian sources, Israeli air strikes in the central section of the Gaza Strip resulted in numerous deaths on Saturday. The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that several houses were bombed by fighter jets, including in Deir al-Balah. Eight people were killed and dozens more were injured or buried. Paramedics even spoke of 40 deaths. Many injured people were taken to hospital. When asked, an Israeli army spokesman said they were checking the reports.

Arrests during hospital use

The Israeli army has so far arrested around 100 people during its operation at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip. The military said on Saturday that these were “people suspected of being involved in terrorist activities.” According to the Hamas health authority, many of those arrested are medical staff.

According to the health authority, five patients in the intensive care unit have died due to a power outage during the Israeli operation. Her oxygen supply was interrupted.

The army, however, said it had not attacked the power supply. The unit working there had strict instructions to ensure the continued functioning of the hospital. That's why she replaced a defective generator with a replacement device from Israel.

Rocket alarm in Israeli coastal town

Another rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon on Saturday. The Israeli army said the missile was intercepted by missile defense. "Israeli troops identified the terrorist responsible for the attack," the military said. He was then deliberately killed in an air strike in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Since the Gaza war began on October 7, extremist Palestinians in the coastal strip have fired more than 14,500 rockets into Israeli territory, according to Israeli figures.

Israelis demonstrate against government policies

Thousands of Israelis protested in various cities on Saturday against the policies of Netanyahu's right-wing religious government. At what the police said was an unauthorized large-scale rally in the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv, demonstrators blocked a street in both directions and lit flares.

There were also protests near Netanyahu's villa in Caesarea. Many of the demonstrators called for new elections. Others called for a ceasefire in the Gaza war and a quick deal with Hamas to release more hostages.

Gaza war in focus of the Munich Security Conference

The war in the Gaza Strip is also a central topic at the 60th Security Conference in Munich. At the end of the conference, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtaje will today take part in a panel discussion on the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations together with former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi.