Netanyahu to anti-hostage-deal group: We’re not abandoning push for ‘total victory’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he remains committed to “total victory” against Hamas in Gaza, but is also planning on seeing the remaining 116 hostages in captivity freed “via various means.”

Speaking to the Gvura Forum, made up of relatives of soldiers killed during the war against Hamas who oppose a deal ending the fighting, Netanyahu says that he hasn’t considered abandoning the Gaza battlefield “even for a second.”

“We are committed to total victory. We don’t want to and cannot abandon the arena not just because of the amazing boys that were killed, but because it’s the future of our country, we have no choice,” he’s quoted saying by his office. “We are committed to returning the hostages via various means, I won’t elaborate.”

Addressing talks for a hostage deal, he says that the main dispute is “over Hamas’s demand, which unfortunately has enjoyed support from within our ranks, that we commit to stopping the war without achieving our goals — destroying Hamas as much as possible — I’m not prepared for that, that’s clear.”

Netanyahu also tells the group that Israel is fighting on seven fronts, including the International Criminal Court in the Hague alongside Hamas and Iran proxies around the region.

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