1 of 5 | A Palestinian family waits for medical help at the Najjar hospital after an Israeli air strike on a home in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Monday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected global calls for a humanitarian cease-fire, citing threats posed by the Hamas militant group. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday refused to consider global calls for a humanitarian cease-fire in Israel's ground invasion of Gaza, citing the threat posed by the Hamas militant group.
In a briefing with foreign media at the Israeli Defense Forces' headquarters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu declared Israel is engaged in a battle with the "enemies of civilization itself" and that any cease-fire with Hamas would be tantamount to surrender.
"Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism," the Israeli leader said. "This is a time for everyone to decide where they stand, Israel will stand against the forces of barbarism until victory."
Netanyahu urged countries around the world to support Israel's military campaign three days after the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an immediate "humanitarian truce" to end the ongoing fighting.
Protesters around the world took to the streets calling for a cease-fire after Israel moved into a "second phase" of its assault on Hamas over the weekend, including sending ground forces into the Palestinian enclave to try to destroy the militant group's war-making infrastructure.
A surprise, multi-pronged attack launched by Hamas on Oct. 7 resulted in 1,400 Israeli deaths and more than 200 citizens being taken hostage. In the wake of the attack, an unrelating wave of Israeli airstrikes have resulted in a Palestinian death toll of more than 8,000 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
"I want to make clear Israel's position regarding the cease-fire," Netanyahu said Monday. "Just as the United States would not agree to a cease-fire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of Oct. 7."
He also blamed the soaring civilian death toll on Hamas, holding it responsible for the casualties because its leaders have purposely located command centers in civilian areas and is preventing civilians from escaping the front lines.
"Hamas is preventing them from leaving, keeping them in the areas of conflict," Netanyahu said, adding, "Not a single civilian has to die."
Meanwhile, the United Nations said at least 33 additional trucks carrying water, food and medical supplies entered Gaza on Sunday.
The U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the trucks entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt in the largest such delivery since limited convoys resumed Oct. 21.
"While this increase is welcome, a much larger volume of aid is needed on a regular basis to prevent further deterioration in the dire humanitarian situation, including civil unrest," the agency said, noting that before Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, close to 500 trucks per day entered Gaza.
Also on Monday, the U.S. State Department said the last government-sponsored charter flight out of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport is scheduled to depart Tuesday after moves by commercial carriers to suspend operations in Israel due to the conflict.
"Commercial availability remains limited out of Ben Gurion Airport," officials said in updated travel advisory. "The U.S. government is facilitating charter flight transportation for U.S. citizens; we urge those wishing to leave to take advantage of these charters while they are available."
There will be a flight from Ben Gurion on Tuesday -- the last planned flight out of the war-torn country.
"Please go to Ben Gurion International Airport, Terminal 3, if you wish to depart Israel," the State Department said. "U.S. Embassy personnel will be present to direct you and provide specific flight information. Be prepared to wait."