Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a ceasefire in Gaza is “not possible,” adding that it would be a “gift” to Hamas and enable them to rebuild their armaments during the ceasefire period.
Clinton made the comments during a panel discussion at the Rice University’s Baker Institute Gala on Friday.
“People who are calling for a ceasefire now do not understand Hamas. That is not possible,” Clinton said.
“It would be such a gift to Hamas because they would spend the ceasefire time rebuilding their armaments, creating stronger positions to be able to fend off an eventual assault by the Israelis.”
Clinton made the comments the same day the UN General Assembly voted 122 to 14 in favor of a non-binding humanitarian truce in Gaza. The United States was one of the countries that voted against the resolution.
Israel launched an attack on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip after the Palestinian group killed 1,400 Israelis and took over 220 hostages in the October 7 attack. Since then, more than 8,000 people, majority of which are children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health.
Israeli troops and armor pushed deeper into northern and central Gaza earlier on Monday, according to multiple media reports, as the UN and medical staff warned that airstrikes are hitting closer to hospitals where tens of thousands of Palestinians have sought shelter alongside thousands of wounded. However, Hamas disputed the claim and said the group forced the army to retreat.
Allowing aid into Gaza not a ‘yes or no answer’
Clinton also said that allowing aid into Gaza, including fuel, is a “dilemma” that is difficult to have a “yes or no” answer to, adding that there are several aspects to the whole situation.
“The terrorism inflicted by Hamas on the Israeli people has to be retaliated against, and they have to pay a price and be deprived of their leadership position in Gaza,” Clinton said, responding to a question regarding more aid, including fuel, being allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.
“Israel has a right to defend itself, and it has a right to, under the laws of war, retaliate through military action.”
Clinton said that Israel has a “totally legitimate worry” about the fuel getting to Hamas, adding that it is essential to divert the fuel where it needs to go to keep generators and hospitals functioning.
Thirty-three aid trucks entered Gaza on Sunday, the largest convoy to the war-ravaged Palestinian territory since Israel began restricting the delivery of aid, the UN said, according to reports from AFP.
Before Israel’s siege, some 500 trucks carrying aid and other goods entered Gaza every day, the news agency reported.