Nearly three months after Hamas' deadly attack on Israel, Israel Defense Forces officials suggest that the ongoing war in Gaza could last through all of 2024.
That prediction comes as the international community has been divided on whether to support Israel's ongoing bombing campaign of Gaza following the Oct. 7, 2023, attack that left nearly 1,200 people dead.
Israel has retaliated by unleashing a bombing campaign that has displaced most of Gaza's 2 million residents, causing a significant humanitarian crisis. But Israel says it remains undeterred as officials say dismantling Hamas and returning all 129 remaining hostages are a priority.
"It is something that will take some time," IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner told Scripps News from Tel Aviv. "You know, this war actually could be over and this is just something that I would suggest we reconsider for a moment. If Hamas lays down its weapons, unconditionally surrenders and lets the hostages go, the war would be over."
Lerner told Scripps News that diplomats are still working on the release of the 129 remaining hostages who remain captive by Hamas. But Lerner could not say how close the two sides are to a cease-fire.
The United Nations has calledIsrael's tactics into question. The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire. The U.S. has opposed calling for a cease-fire, and was among 10 nations to vote against the measure.
The international community has expressed concerns that Israel's tactics have targeted civilians in Gaza.
"We have to ask ourselves basically why we are fighting where we are fighting," Lerner said. "We are fighting only because that is where the enemy is hiding. That is where they've set up their command and control positions. That is where they are utilizing the civilian arena, like schools, like mosques, like hospitals, in order to conduct and conceal their activities and conduct."
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