JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday rejected calls from the United States to scale back Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip or take steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state after the war, drawing an immediate scolding from the White House.
The tense back and forth reflected what has become a wide rift between the two allies over the scope of Israel's war and its plans for the future of the beleaguered territory.
“We obviously see it differently,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said.
Netanyahu spoke just a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israel would never have “genuine security” without a pathway toward Palestinian independence. Earlier this week, the White House also announced that it was the “right time” for Israel to lower the intensity of its devastating military offensive in Gaza.
In a nationally televised news conference, Netanyahu struck a defiant tone, repeatedly saying that Israel would not halt its offensive until it realizes its goals of destroying Gaza's Hamas militant group and bringing home all remaining hostages held by Hamas.
He rejected claims by a growing chorus of Israeli critics that those goals are not achievable, vowing to press ahead for many months. “We will not settle for anything short of an absolute victory,” Netanyahu said.
Israel launched the offensive after an…