Israel at the United Nations Security Council in New York yesterday rejected calls for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza war.
Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the most powerful UN body that with a ceasefire in place, Israel would not be able to protect its citizens.
“Anyone who supports a ceasefire basically supports Hamas’ continued reign of terror in Gaza,” he said.
One could not demand a ceasefire and at the same time claim to be seeking a solution to the conflict, Erdan said further, noting that the militant Hamas is not a partner for reliable peace.
“Hamas has publicly stated – you all saw it – that it will repeat October 7 over and over again until Israel is no more.
“How would you respond and defend your citizens from such a clear threat with a ceasefire?” he queried.
Meanwhile, 16 hostages were released from Gaza on Wednesday as mediators pushed for an extension of the truce between Israel and Hamas that is set to expire at midnight ET.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Israel to discuss an extension as Qatar, a key mediator, said it was “very optimistic” the pause will be extended.
The latest group of freed hostages comprises 10 Israelis and four Thai nationals and included Israeli-American dual citizen,. The Thai nationals and two Israeli-Russian freed earlier Wednesday were released outside the framework of the agreement. Qatar said that 30 Palestinians are also expected to be released from Israeli jails.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military said it was assessing a Hamas claim that the youngest Israeli hostage, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, his brother and his mother are no longer alive.