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Ex-israeli PM says Hamas must end

Former Israeli PM says war in Gaza will continue until Hamas demilitarized


Whatever it takes.

Israel will do whatever it takes to demilitarize Hamas and won’t relent until the job is done. That’s Ehud Barak’s take on Israel’s endgame in the Gaza war.

The former Israeli prime minister spoke on the second day of the Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday.

The decorated former Israeli soldier denounced the killing of civilians on both sides but said casualties are a reality of war. At the same time, Barak said Israel is doing what it can to prevent unnecessary casualties.

Over 1,000 people died during Hamas's attack on Israel early last month. The group also took 240 hostages.

The attacks prompted Israel’s invasion of Gaza, where more than 11,000 Palestinians have died, according to the territory’s health authorities.

The Israelis have also cut off food, fuel, water and supplies to Gaza.

Earlier this week, the United Nations Security Council called for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors” in Gaza for “a sufficient number of days” to allow full, rapid, safe and unhindered access for UN agencies and partners. The region is home to 2.3 million Palestinians.

About 300 delegates from around the world are attending the three-day security forum in Halifax. The annual event is aimed at strengthening co-operation among democratic nations.

The international community, including the United States, has shown increasing concern about the number of civilians killed in the conflict.

Barak participated in a back-and-forth discussion with PBS correspondent Nick Schifrin in Halifax on Saturday. Schifrin pointed to the U.S.’S increasing concern of the death toll and the possibility that the country could withdraw its support in a matter of weeks.

A resolute Barak admitted the Americans’ support of Israel is important but said the country would fight on regardless until the job is done.

“We have to finish it,” Barak said. “The Israel government cannot survive, cannot live up to its very basic commitment to its citizens … if it stops this operation before the military capability of Hamas is practically nonexistent.”

Here in Halifax, protests against the war have been increasing. On Friday, a group gathered outside the Westin Hotel — the site of the security forum — calling for a ceasefire.

Andy Fillmore, MP for Halifax, attended the forum Saturday. He said his focus is on how the war is affecting his constituents.

Fillmore said both the Jewish community and the Muslim community in Halifax are equally upset by the conflict. Both groups, he said, are concerned about family and friends that are forced to flee their homes. He added that they’re also worried about the war promoting a rise in Islamophobia and antisemitism.

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