War cabinet minister Benny Gantz says Israel “wasted precious time” on its mission to dismantle Hamas in Gaza because of “foot-dragging,” especially in the northern part of the enclave.
In an evening press conference, Gantz says, “Now, as a matter of urgency, we must advance an outline under which food will be delivered to Gaza through international entities that are not connected to Hamas, such as UNRWA, even if this requires stopping or reducing quantities [of aid],” he says.
On the future civil administrator of Gaza, Gantz says “all options are on the table… All except Hamas. Our goal is 100% security control – 0% civilian control.”
“For this to happen, the world must also be engaged. Only then will more aid reach the residents and not go through the terrorists,” he says.
Gantz also again appears to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and those “who are conducting divisive discourse in the Knesset, who turn the cabinet meetings into attacks on the military, who compare the TV studios to our enemies.”
At a press conference on January 18, Netanyahu accused Israeli media of spreading pessimism about the progress of the war, saying that the idea that Israel cannot win the war was being circulated “in the TV studios.” He told one reporter: “I’ll continue to fight Hamas, and you’ll continue to fight me… That’s the division of work.”
Gantz calls “on everyone from all sides of the political map, [to take] a moment before you speak – think about the fighters and the hostages, think about how we got here and why. The citizens of Israel deserve more from us.”
“There are no instant victories,” says Gantz, who joined Netanyahu for an emergency unity government days after the October 7 massacre. “We will win because we have to, we will win because we have no other country,” he says, adding that the fight may be “complicated and long.”
“The return of the hostages is an integral part of the victory and does not come at the expense of our duty to remove the threat of Hamas,” he says.
Gantz also indicates that he intends to move to Kibbutz Yad Mordechai near the Gaza Strip. The community came under attack on October 7, among some 20 communities in the south, but security teams were able to thwart the attacks.