Israel aims to demilitarize, deradicalize Gaza — Netanyahu

The goal of Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip is to demilitarize as well as deradicalize the Palestinian enclave, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with German TV channel Welt.

"After this [the destruction of Hamas] we have to do two things: first, demilitarize Gaza and also deradicalize it. This is what was done in Germany, Japan and elsewhere," Netanyahu said.

The Israeli prime minister believes that otherwise Europe will be Hamas' next target. "You will be next, do you realize that? Germany, Europe," he maintained. "Hamas is part of the terrorist axis of Iran, Hezbollah, the Houthis and others. Their goal is first to plunge the Middle East and then the world into an era of barbarism, into the dark times of the Middle Ages," Netanyahu said. "That is what they want." They will not go away until we defeat them," the prime minister added.

Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 after militants from the Gaza Strip-based radical Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise incursion on Israeli territory, killing many Israeli kibbutz residents living near the Gaza border and abducting more than 200 Israelis, including women, children and the elderly. Hamas described its attack as a response to Israeli authorities’ aggressive actions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and launched bombardments of the enclave and some areas in Lebanon and Syria, as well as a ground operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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