After a four-day truce agreement between Israel and Hamas was extended another two days from Monday, there's hope that the cease-fire can last even longer.
The deal saw batches of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas since Oct. 7 released back to Israel in exchange for Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails. Shipments of humanitarian aid for Gaza also made their way into the region during this time.
While Israel supports further truce extensions to bring more hostages home, the country is adamant that the war must continue once the cease-fire eventually lifts.
Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, joined Scripps News on Tuesday, doubling down on that point.
"In the end we have to go back to fighting. Not because we want to, but we have to. Because if we don't destroy Hamas' military machine, if we don't end their rule of Gaza, we're just back to square one," Regev told Scripps News.
"Their leadership has said publicly and repeatedly that given the opportunity, they would commit another Oct. 7 massacre," he said.
Regev said the concern is that Hamas will remain a threat for as long as it exists.
"No country, no people, should have to live next to a terrorist enclave and live in constant fear of terrorists crossing the border in the middle of the night and butchering their children. No one should live that way. And we refuse to live that way. And the only way is to end Hamas' rule over Gaza," he said.
Regev says there is compassion too for the Palestinians caught in the crossfire. He said they also would benefit from an end to Hamas.
"Getting rid of Hamas is not just good for Israelis ... but getting rid of Hamas is also good for Palestinians who deserve better," he said.
Regev said Israel is putting forth its best efforts to preserve innocent lives. Israel has developed maps of safe zones — which it also shared with the U.S. and United Nations — where Palestinians can flee, where it is known there won't be fighting.
He said the same can't be said of Hamas.
"Israel is making a maximum effort to keep civilians out of harm's way. You have to know, though, that Hamas has the opposite goal," Regev said. "Hamas has a deliberate policy of using Gazan civilians as human shields. They embed themselves under urban areas. They embed themselves under hospitals, under schools, under mosques — that's the way Hamas works."
As things stand now however, Israel is all for continuing to extend a truce with Hamas until all hostages are brought home. With the current truce agreement set to expire after Wednesday, Israel has said it is willing to agree to an additional day of truce for every 10 hostages released.
On Tuesday, 12 hostages were released back to Israel, to be followed by 10 more on Wednesday.
Estimates say around 180 hostages remain in Hamas captivity.
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