Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opens this evening’s press conference by commemorating the soldiers killed fighting Hamas terrorists in the ground invasion of Gaza.
“We are doing everything to be worthy of their sacrifice and their heroism,” Netanyahu says. “We will not stop before the completion of the mission.”
“Their is no alternative to victory. We will defeat Hamas and bring back our captives,” he adds.
He says the IDF is inside in Gaza City, “on the outskirts” of Shifa Hospital. Among the many terrorists killed, he says, are many of those who led the October 7 massacres in southern Israel. From Hamas Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar on down, all these terrorists are destined to die, he says.
Turning to the northern border, he again warns the Iran-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah against intervening in the war between Israel and Hamas.
“It will be the mistake of your lives,” the premier says, and would seal Lebanon’s fate.
He says the IDF is active on other fronts against terrorism and its orchestrators, in the West Bank, Syria, and Red Sea.
He stresses that returning the hostages is “a central aim of the war.”
“There will be no ceasefire without the return of our hostages,” he pledges.
Referring to widespread talk of possible hostage deals, he says, “When we have something concrete to say we will tell the families, and bring it to the government. Until then, silence is golden.”
He urges Arab heads of state: “You have to take a stand against Hamas.” The terror group has only “brought disaster to Gaza; only bloodshed and poverty.”
Furthermore, it is an integral part of Iran’s axis of terror and evil, he says, and that axis “endangers the whole world and the whole Arab world.”
He says he has been working to ensure international support for the IDF, and declares that, in the wake of the Hamas atrocities, “everybody in the free world has a moral obligation to support Israel.”
He urges worldwide backing for his opposition to a ceasefire without a return of the hostages. And he urges Americans to join the demand for the destruction of Hamas, which he says poses a danger to them too. He says most Americans share that realization.
He notes that, in some countries, there are those who are pressuring the leaders: “Don’t cave to the pressure,” he urges. “Our war is your war.” Israel has to win for its own sake and for the world.
In any case, “no international pressure, no false allegations about IDF soldiers and our state,” he says, will impact Israel’s insistence on protecting itself.
Israel will “stand firm against the world if necessary.”
Netanyahu also says the military will remain in Gaza “as long as necessary” to prevent the enclave from being used to launch terror attacks against Israel.
When he thinks of “the day after,” he says, that means “only after the destruction of Hamas. Hamas will be demilitarized; there will be no further threat from the Gaza Strip on Israel, and to ensure that, for all long as necessary, IDF will control Gaza security to prevent terror from there.”
He says the October 7 attacks probed that “wherever Israel doesn’t maintain security control, terror returns and establishes itself and hits us.” This has “proven to be the case in Judea and Samaria too,” he says. “And so I will not give up security control under any circumstances.”
“If we want peace, we have to destroy Hamas. If we want security, we have to destroy Hamas. If we want to ensure the future of the State of Israel, we have to destroy Hamas. That’s what Israel must do. And that is what Israel will do,” he concludes.