Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Gaza will need a "civilian government" once Hamas is eradicated, but he declined to say who or what entity that should be.
Netanyahu made the comments in an interview with NPR, saying that the short-term future involves Israel maintaining "overall military responsibility." However, Israel has no interest in governing Gaza long term.
"Once we defeat Hamas, we have to make sure that there's no new Hamas, no resurgence of terrorism. And right now the only force that is able to secure that is Israel," Netanyahu told NPR.
"There has to be a civilian government there," he added without identifying prospects.
"I think I know who it can't be. It can't be people committed to funding terrorism and inculcating terrorism," Netanyahu told NPR.
Hamas has governed Gaza since June 2007.
Netanyahu's comments came as the Israeli military has come to control much of northern Gaza, including Gaza City's Al Shifa Hospital, under which Hamas had a "major" command center that Netanyahu said Israel Defense Forces have commandeered. IDF found weapons, ammunition, and bombs there, he added.
White House spokesperson John Kirby said Thursday that U.S. intelligence is also confident in the assessment that Hamas was running part of its terrorist operation out of Al Shifa Hospital.
It's Hamas' practice of hiding behind civilians that means the terrorists are "committing a double war crime," Netanyahu said.
"It's both targeting our civilians, murdering them, mutilating them, but also hiding behind civilians as human shields," he told NPR.
In an interview Thursday, Netanyahu said Israel was "not successful" in its attempts to minimize civilian casualties.
"Any civilian death is a tragedy. And we shouldn't have any because we're doing everything we can to get the civilians out of harm's way, while Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm's way," Netanyahu said.
Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.
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