In a brief televised statement before the start of Shabbat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has told visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he rejects any temporary halt to the fight against Hamas that does not include “the release of our hostages. He also says Israel “will not enable the entry of fuel to Gaza.”
Netanyahu begins by promising that victory will be “sharp and clear” and will “resonate for generations.”
He says Israel’s enemies aim to destroy the country and will fail. “We won’t stop until victory,” he says, specifying that this means “to destroy Hamas, [and attain the] return of the hostages and the restoration of security for our citizens and children.”
He praises Israel’s valiant soldiers, saying they are killing terrorists “around the clock” in Gaza, with close cooperation between the IDF’s ground and air forces.
Speaking even as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah issues a prolonged statement in Lebanon, Netanyahu warns Israel’s “enemies in the north” not to make the costly mistake of escalating the war. “You cannot imagine how much this will cost you.”
Regarding Blinken’s visit, he says he appreciates it and values the support of President Biden and the US. He says he showed Blinken footage of Hamas atrocities, which the secretary mentioned in his press conference earlier.
He says he told Blinken that “Israel refuses a temporary ceasefire that does not include the release of our hostages. Israel will not enable the entry of fuel to Gaza and opposes sending money to the Strip.”
He notes that Israel has lost hundreds of civilians and soldiers on and since October 7 — wonderful fighters, incredible Israelis… people who blocked these monsters with their bodies.”
He tells some of their stories and says they “sacrificed their lives for our lives.”
“We are trying to fight with minimal danger to our warriors, but we will do whatever is needed to defeat our enemies,” he concludes.