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The UN’s top court has ordered the country to prevent genocide in Gaza
Israel is now killing more Hamas militants than civilians in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in an interview with American media on Sunday.
His remarks came as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was preparing a ground assault of the overcrowded city of Rafah in southern Gaza.
Western nations, including the US, have warned Israel against a ground offensive in the city, where an estimated 1.4 million Palestinians have sought refuge after being driven from their homes by Israeli bombings.
ABC News host Jonathan Karl pressed the Israeli leader about the death toll in the enclave surpassing 28,000, as reported by Gaza health officials. Netanyahu dismissed it as “Hamas statistics”, and urged viewers to treat such claims with caution.
“We’ve brought down the civilian-to-terrorist casualties, the ratio down, to below 1-to-1, which is considerably less than in any other theater of similar warfare. And we’re going to do more,” Netanyahu pledged.
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He cited unnamed “urban warfare experts and other commentators,” claiming that Israelis “have killed and wounded over 20,000 Hamas terrorists, out of that, about 12,000 fighters.” The prime minister did elaborate on why the remaining 8,000 non-combatants he mentioned were viewed as terrorists.
Last month, the International Court of Justice ruled that there was plausible evidence that Israel was committing genocide in Gaza, and ordered it to stop targeting Palestinian civilians. The Israeli government responded that it was already doing everything possible to reduce civilian casualties, while working to obliterate Hamas.
On Sunday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reported that in the 15 days since the ruling was issued, “the Israeli army has maintained its rate of killing civilians, depriving them of their most basic human rights, besieging them, and starving them.”
The group estimated that during that period of time, the Israeli military had killed at least 1,864 Palestinians, including 690 children and 441 women. The country is violating its international obligations, it noted.
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Netanyahu insisted that victory over Hamas was “within reach” as he justified military action in Rafah despite mounting criticism by even the closest allies of Israel.
US President Joe Biden called him on Sunday to reiterate that “a military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there,” according to a readout of the conversation published by the White House.