| 24 February 2024, Saturday |

Israelis say Hamas must be crushed despite Gaza casualties, U.N. rebuke

Israeli residents said on Wednesday that in spite of the call for a ceasefire by the U.N. General Assembly, the mounting list of IDF casualties, and the rising number of Palestinian deaths in Gaza, the army should not abandon its relentless offensive to destroy Hamas.

Tuesday was one of the worst days for Israel’s armed forces in the two-month-old Gaza conflict. Ten troops, including a colonel, lost their lives, increasing the total to 115, nearly twice as many as those lost during fighting in the coastal enclave nine years prior.

And with much of the enclave laid to waste, conditions dire and more than 18,500 Palestinians killed in the Israeli army’s air and ground assault, U.S. President Joe Biden said the “indiscriminate” bombing of Gazan civilians was costing Israel international support.

But six Israelis who spoke to Reuters on Wednesday said now was not the time back down, regardless of fading global sympathy reflected in Tuesday’s U.N resolution. Polls in recent weeks show overwhelming support for the war despite the rising costs.

Hamas’ killing of about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, on Oct. 7 revived something Israel previously felt when Arabs staged a surprise attack in 1973 – fears that its neighbours and enemies could do away with the Jewish nation all together, said political scientist Tamar Hermann.

“The sense of the people is that this is a threat to the very existence of Israel,” said Hermann, of the Israel Democracy Institute, which conducts regular opinion polls on the war. She said that people were prepared for more deaths of soldiers.

  • Reuters