Israel’s political and military leaders marked 100 days of war against Hamas in Gaza over the weekend by vowing to continue until victory, even as they awaited a decision from the world’s top court on a possible injunction against the Israeli military’s devastating offensive.
About 1,200 people were killed during the Hamas-led Oct. 7 assault against Israel, a majority of them civilians, according to the Israeli authorities. Israel’s retaliatory war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, a majority of them women and children, according to Gaza health officials.
Warning of a long conflict, the Israeli statements exposed a growing dissonance between the domestic perception of the timing and goals of the war and increasing international impatience in the face of a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
“We are continuing the war until the end — until total victory, until we achieve all of our goals,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in a televised news conference on Saturday night, stating that “eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza will never again constitute a threat to Israel” were the goals.
“Nobody will stop us — not The Hague, not the axis of evil and not anybody else,” he added with a tone of defiance, referring to the U.N.’s top court, where Israel is being accused by South Africa of committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.
The court’s judges heard two days of hearings last week and will now decide whether to call on Israel to adopt provisional measures, such as a stop to fighting, while it assesses the merit of the genocide claim. No date has been set for the announcement of that decision and, in any case, the court has few means of enforcing its rulings.
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