Hostages and Missing Families Forum spokesperson says Israel ‘can’t win’ in Gaza

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Protesters demand early elections and a deal to release hostages held in the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv on June 15, 2024. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Protesters demand early elections and a deal to release hostages held in the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv on June 15, 2024. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Israel will never fully win the war against Hamas, “who are like cockroaches that resurface after you spray them with pesticide,” a top spokesperson for the Hostages and Missing Families Forum says hours after eight Israel Defense Forces troops were killed in Gaza.

The remarks by Rami Beja, emcee of the weekly Saturday night rally for the hostages, are unusual from the Forum, which has mostly avoided offering commentary on the war against Hamas on matters that don’t concern hostages directly.

“We all know the heavy losses that the Americans had in Vietnam and even the Germans did not snuff out the partisans,” Beja tells thousands gathered on Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square. “Hamas are like cockroaches, spray pesticides on them and they will keep returning. We need to strike them but don’t tell me we can win, you can’t win entirely here,” says Beja.

Israelis “cannot present a united front about the war until all the hostages return,” adds Beja. “We need trust-establishing steps, not vis-à-vis the enemy but between the government and the people,” Beja adds. “We cannot have trust until the hostages are back.”

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