In a significant escalation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and opposition leader Benny Gantz, has vowed to eradicate Hamas.
This comes after the Palestinian military group executed the deadliest attack on Israel in 50 years.
According to Bloomberg, Gantz emphasized that the current situation calls for war, not peace. His statement aligns with Gallant's, who used the most forceful language among the trio, declaring that Israel will "wipe [Hamas] off the face of the Earth."
The remarks indicate that Israel is likely in the final stages of preparing for a large-scale invasion of Gaza, a territory under Hamas control.
The upcoming offensive is expected to be more devastating than the 2014 invasion, which resulted in over 2,000 Gazan deaths. This time, the stakes are higher due to the unprecedented scale of the Hamas attack that claimed at least 1,200 Israeli lives. In retaliation, Israeli strikes have already killed more than 1,000 Palestinians.
Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by the US and the European Union, has taken an unknown number of Israelis hostage. Despite this, and Hamas's threats to start killing the hostages, Israel appears to be moving forward with its military plans. "This is not time for difficult questions," said Gantz, "This is the time for overwhelming answers on the battlefield."
According to Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, the focus of the strikes will be on Hamas commanders, officials, and its intelligence and financial infrastructure within Gaza.
By vowing to completely wipe out Hamas, Israel is signaling a new level of commitment to ending the conflict, regardless of the high stakes and potential for significant loss of life on both sides.