News around you

Netanyahu uses Holocaust ceremony to brush off international pressure against Gaza offensive

The Israeli PM said that he remains committed to an invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, despite widespread international opposition because of the more than 1 million civilians huddled there.

NetanyahuJERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected international pressure to halt the war in Gaza in a fiery speech marking the country’s annual Holocaust memorial day, declaring: “If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

The message, delivered in a setting that typically avoids politics, was aimed at the growing chorus of world leaders who have criticized the heavy toll caused by Israel’s military offensive against Hamas militants and have urged the sides to agree to a cease-fire.

Netanyahu has said he is open to a deal that would pause nearly seven months of fighting and bring home hostages held by Hamas. But he also says he remains committed to an invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, despite widespread international opposition because of the more than 1 million civilians huddled there.

“I say to the leaders of the world: No amount of pressure, no decision by any international forum will stop Israel from defending itself,” he said, speaking in English. “Never again is now.”

Yom Hashoah, the day Israel observes as a memorial for the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany and its allies in the Holocaust, is one of the most solemn dates on the country’s calendar. Speeches at the ceremony generally avoid politics, though Netanyahu in recent years has used the occasion to lash out at Israel’s archenemy Iran.

The ceremony ushered in Israel’s first Holocaust remembrance day since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that sparked the war, imbuing the already somber day with additional meaning.

Hamas militants killed some 1,200 people in the attack, making it the deadliest violence against Jews since the Holocaust.

Israel responded with an air and ground offensive in Gaza, where the death toll has soared to more than 34,500 people, according to local health officials, and about 80% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are displaced. The death and destruction has prompted South Africa to file a genocide case against Israel in the U.N.’s world court. Israel strongly rejects the charges.

You might also like

Comments are closed.