Hanegbi: Primary aim of war is returning hostages; US support is massive

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Hanegbi says a primary aim of the war is to return the hostages. “This is our sacred responsibility as a nation, to our soldiers and our civilians.”

He insists the ground operation will help free the hostages.

Hanegbi says the entire conceptual framework with which Israel saw its security until October 7 “disappeared.”

“There is no longer ‘a round,’ ‘an operation,’ there are no longer amorphous goals like ‘strengthening deterrence,’ ‘extracting a price,’ ‘a painful strike on infrastructure,’ ‘burning into enemy consciousness.’ The massacre on October 7 did away with the illusion that we are facing an enemy who wouldn’t risk his total destruction.”

Hamas, says Hanegbi, sees Gaza’s residents as “human dust that offers it protection.”

Hamas has “to cease existing,” says Hanegbi, and that is the IDF’s mission.
“Monstrous terrorist organizations will never again be allowed to rule the Gaza Strip,” he says.

Hanegbi also says that firm US backing is a massive advantage, and allows Israel “to wage an unprecedentedly powerful campaign” against Hamas.

In order to maintain that support, says Hanegbi, “it is our responsibility to distinguish between murderers and civilian bystanders, to encourage the civilian population in the northern Gaza Strip to position themselves in safe areas in the south, to allow foreign aid forces to provide food, water, and medicine to everyone who heeds our call and is in the south today, and to call for lifesaving medical care to everyone who needs, but not in the hospitals which today serve as terror headquarters, for Hamas and PIJ command and control, but in Egyptian hospitals, in the protected area, or in hospital ships.”

He says such foreign medical ships are on their way to Gaza’s coast.

Most Popular