The bloody Israel-Hamas conflict entered its 100th day on Sunday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledging to continue the military campaign in the Gaza Strip until “total victory” is achieved.
“We must conduct this war, and it will yet take many months,” said Netanyahu despite growing international calls to halt the war due to the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
During his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu presented a 2024 budget proposal to his government, seeking approval for a plan that involves tax hikes and the implementation of a uniform 3 percent reduction in the budgets of all government ministries to secure funding for the ongoing war against Hamas.
“At this moment, what is required is, first of all, to cover the expenses of the war and to allow us to continue the war and complete it,” Netanyahu told ministers.
His remarks came as Israel awaited a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, with a possible decision against its massive and crippling offensive in Gaza.
Launched following the Hamas assault on Oct. 7, 2023, Israel’s relentless strikes in the densely-populated Palestinian enclave have killed at least 23,843 people, with approximately 75 percent of them being women, children, and the elderly, according to the Hamas-run government media office.
The strikes have displaced most of Gaza’s about 2.3 million population and leveled many parts of the territory.
Since Saturday, thousands of Israelis have rallied in Tel Aviv and other major cities, calling for the return of the hostages and the replacement of the government.
During the Oct. 7 rampage, Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people, including 790 civilians, and kidnapped over 200 people, 132 of whom are still being held in Gaza.
According to figures released by the Israeli military on Sunday, since the commencement of the war, its troops have killed approximately 9,000 militants in Gaza.
Additionally, 170 militants from the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah and Palestinian factions were killed in clashes with Israeli forces on the Lebanon front.
The Israeli army, mobilizing about 295,000 reservists, has launched attacks on around 30,000 locations in the 365 square km Palestinian enclave and 750 locations in Lebanon.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday in a speech that his group “doesn’t fear war, and there are no talks before the war on Gaza ends.”
According to Nasrallah, “Israel is mired in failure and is in a deep hole … It has not reached any of its declared and undeclared goals as unanimously stated by the Israelis themselves.” ■