Israel will “obliterate” Hamas, the country’s envoy to the UN Gilad Erdan has said, ruling out any prospects of negotiating with the Palestinian militant group.
Speaking ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council on Sunday, the diplomat denounced Hamas as “a genocidal Islamist terror organization,” comparing it to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and al-Qaeda.
“The era of reasoning with these savages is over,” Erdan announced. “Now is the time to obliterate Hamas terror infrastructure, to completely wipe it out, so that such horrors are never committed again.”
The envoy accused Hamas of committing “blatant documented war crimes” during its raid on southern Israel. Erdan compared the ongoing escalation to the Holocaust, stating that “hundreds of Jews were massacred in cold blood” during the attack.
The new escalation between Hamas and Israel began early on Saturday, when the group launched a surprise attack on multiple locations along the Gaza border. Militants overran several military installations and infiltrated deep into Israeli territory, attacking multiple settlements. During the raid, multiple Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed or kidnapped, with the death toll estimated at over 600 already.
Israel retaliated with massive airstrikes on Gaza and is apparently preparing a ground operation against the Palestinian enclave, with troops redeployed en masse into the south of the country and a call-up of military reservists announced. The country officially entered a state of war on Sunday, invoking Article 40 of its Basic Law.