Gallant: Ground op soon, soldiers ready. Israel’s next 75 years depend largely on our success

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a press conference on October 26, 2023. (GPO/Screenshot)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a press conference on October 26, 2023. (GPO/Screenshot)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vows that Israel will win the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and promises a “supreme effort” to return the more than 200 hostages held by the terror group. He says a ground operation is close at hand.

“We are in decisive moments. This is a war for our home and we will win it. It’s either us or them,” he says in a televised address.

“On October 7, Hamas began a war,” he continues, “a war against the citizens of Israel, against little children, against women, against Holocaust survivors. It’s a war against civilian communities. It’s a war of murder, rape, kidnapping, looting. It’s a war intended to deter us and destroy the will of Israeli citizens to live here.”

“We will win this war,” he declares. “I know this because I saw on October 7 and October 8, IDF soldiers and civilians fighting — civilians protecting their children at all cost, soldiers storming toward the gunfire.”

“I saw soldiers fall in battle and division commanders lead the fighting,” Gallant says. Together “they halted the enemy’s progress deeper into Israel and prevented them from harming more citizens.”

“And within 24 hours, we went on the offensive,” he says. “Israel’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza is being carried out by air, land and sea… hitting bunkers, tunnels and outposts.”

“The war is precise, lethal and powerful. It is our duty to win this war. That’s the unwritten contract between the security establishment and the citizens… It is my duty as the defense minister to lead so that we win the battle, and the citizens can live here in peace and quiet,” he continues.

Gallant says the planned ground offensive will occur soon. “Additional stages in the war will also come, we are creating the conditions for them and we will carry them out. I am determined… to ensure the State of Israel is victorious over this tough and evil enemy — over this epitome of evil.”

Gallant says “another thing happened in this campaign that we have never seen before. We have over 200 prisoners and missing people, and we lost about 1,400 soldiers and civilians in the battle,” he says.

“As a father, grandfather and son of Holocaust survivors, I understand and am deeply saddened by the very heavy price of those who fell in battle. I am determined to make every effort to return the hostages to their families, this is my supreme obligation, along with the effort for absolute victory in the war,” he says.

“Nothing like has happened in Israel’s 75 years of existence,” he continues. “What will happen in the next 75 years depends largely on the achievements in this battle.”

Answering questions, Gallant says the ground operation “is close at hand” and “will begin when the conditions are ripe. The forces are ready.”

He says Israel is also “ready for any eventuality” in the north. Israel is “not interested in widening the war, but will deal with it if necessary.”

He does not directly answer questions on possible terms for hostage releases, or on Qatar’s role, instead again promising to “make every effort to get them back as soon as possible.”

And he says he won’t discuss how the October 7 failure to prevent Hamas’s devastating infiltration and onslaught should be investigated. His only focus now, he says, is on victory.

Most Popular