Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel’s military attack on a Gaza strip where hundreds of people were killed last week would not lead to a ceasefire, as Palestinians and international mediators have demanded.
Netanyahu, who met with President Donald Trump in New York on Monday, said there was no doubt that Hamas, the Palestinian faction that rules the Gaza Strip, and other groups had carried out the attack on Monday night.
“This was not an Israeli military operation.
This was an Israeli air strike,” he said at a press conference.
“And the operation will be conducted with the utmost caution and precision.”
Netanyahu said the Israeli air force did not cause the death toll in the attack.
“Israel will act on the basis of all the facts, and in accordance with international law,” he added.
“We will continue to use all means possible to ensure that a lasting peace is achieved.”
Netanyahu, speaking in the aftermath of the attack, said Israel’s strikes against Gaza’s military installations had “turned into a full-scale war” with Hamas.
The attack has drawn condemnation from the international community, with many saying Israel should have used the same force that it used on Hamas.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday called on Israel to “immediately stop the offensive and the killings and stop the bombing” against Gaza.
Netanyahu’s comments come after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday warned Israel against escalating the conflict, saying he expected a ceasefire to take effect “as soon as possible.”
“We don’t want a repeat of the Gaza war,” Tillerson said in a statement.
“The United States will continue our support for the Palestinian people and their legitimate aspirations, and we will not tolerate a repetition of that conflict.”
On Tuesday, Tillerson said there were “real doubts” about the effectiveness of the Israeli military’s latest attack.
But he said there is “no question that this will create a lot of pressure for Hamas to accept a cease-fire, which it’s not going to do.”
On Monday night, Gaza militants fired rockets from the Strip toward Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Tel Aviv, with Israeli military jets hitting a rocket-launching site in the Strip, according to Palestinian media reports.