Answering more questions at tonight’s press conference, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has told the Mossad to target the heads of Hamas wherever they may be.
After a reporter mentions a (Hebrew) report asserting that Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal have been saying they expect to continue ruling Gaza after the war, Netanyahu says that he has “instructed the Mossad to act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are.”
Asked whether the truce applies to targeting Hamas chiefs — a presumed reference to those abroad — Netanyahu says there is “no such obligation.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant weighs in to say all Hamas leaders are walking dead. “They are living on borrowed time,” Gallant says of the terror chiefs. “The struggle is worldwide: From gunman in the field to those who are enjoying luxury jets while their emissaries are acting against women and children, they are destined to die.”
Netanyahu also says that Itamar Ben Gvir has the obligation to vote as he sees fit, but all ministers must accept collective responsibility once a decision is made. Ben Gvir and his Otzma Yehudit colleagues voted against the hostage deal last night.
Gallant says he hopes Israelis living more than four kilometers (nearly 2.5 miles) from the northern Gaza border will be able to return home, providing their homes are livable, at the end of December, if not before, since “the danger [in that area] is passing, given the IDF’s operations.”
Asked about missile attacks from Yemen, Netanyahu says “we are preparing to respond to all threats.”
Asked again about the danger of released Palestinian prisoners returning to terrorism, Netanyahu says Israel will go after them again if it has to.
But the question Israel faced regarding this hostage deal, he says, was “how could we pass up the possibility to bring home tens of children, mothers and women?”
He would be happier if there were no such releases of Palestinian security prisoners, but “there was no such possibility… The knife is at the throats of the children and women now, so we made a decision,” he says.