Answering a few final questions at his press conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu unleashes a devastating critique of the Palestinian Authority and the process that led to its establishment.
He is asked about the PA’s potential role in a post-war Gaza, as sought by the US and opposed by him.
The Palestinian Authority “pays murderers…. They educate their children to hate Israel and, to my sorrow, to murder Jews, and ultimately for the disappearance of the State of Israel,” he says.
He says PA President Mahmoud “Abbas still hasn’t apologized” for the October 7 onslaught. (He apparently meant to say that Abbas hasn’t condemned the assault.) And he says that senior PA official Jibril Rajoub has said “the same should be done in Judea and Samaria from Judea and Samaria.”
“I’m not prepared to delude myself and say that this defective thing, established under the Oslo Accords in a terrible mistake,” should be allowed to govern Gaza. “It was a terrible mistake to return the most hostile thing in the Arab world and the Palestinian world into the center of the Land of Israel, the heart of the land,” he says.
Apparently referring to Fatah and Hamas, he says it then “split into two, but the ideology, to my sorrow, that rejects the existence of Israel is common to both those factions. So I won’t repeat the mistake and put that entity into Gaza, because we’ll get the same thing.”
He adds: “We would be putting the same element — utterly unreformed, utterly unchanged — into Gaza, and that’s what even the best of our friends suggest. I think differently. I oppose it. I think we need to build something else. Of course, [there must be] Israeli security control in the whole area… to ensure no rise of a terror entity for years to come. And the internal governance must undergo a totally different process.
“The PA has failed in this — it doesn’t fight terror, it finances terror; it doesn’t educate for peace, it educates for the disappearance of the State of Israel. That is not the group that should enter now,” he says.
Asked how he will keep Palestinian civilians safe in the now hugely crowded south of the Gaza Strip, he says Israel is coordinating with the US and that Israel “wants to avoid harm to the civilian populace.”
When it is put to him that some critics say he strengthened Hamas over the years, he responds: “It’s a lie.” Under his leadership, he says, Hamas was hit in four rounds of conflict. “We killed thousands of terrorists.”
At the same time, his and other governments rightly sought to prevent a humanitarian collapse in Gaza. That’s why money was allowed to flow into Gaza.
“We have to finish the job” against Hamas, he says.
Previously, “we didn’t have either the internal national consensus or the international consensus” to destroy Hamas. Now, the internal support is very strong, he says, and he is working to preserve international support. “Now, we will finish the job.”