Netanyahu: ‘We are in an existential war, Israel has to win’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a cadets graduation ceremony at the IDF's officers school in southern Israel, known as Bahad 1, March 7, 2024. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a cadets graduation ceremony at the IDF's officers school in southern Israel, known as Bahad 1, March 7, 2024. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Israel is “in an existential war” that it “has to win,” says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this afternoon at a cadet graduation ceremony at the IDF’s officers school in southern Israel, known as Bahad 1.

Netanyahu vows that Israel will “strike our enemies until total victory,” a phrase he has used repeatedly in the past months of war against Hamas.

He promises to eliminate the “murderous regime of Hamas, eliminate terrorists, destroy tunnels,” and pursue the perpetrators of the October 7 attack while doing everything possible to “locate the hostages.”

The IDF is advancing impressively to reach its war goal, while minimizing civilian casualties in Gaza, says Netanyahu, slamming Hamas for its tactics of using Gazan “civilians as human shields, and using “subterranean tunnels spanning many kilometers.”

The IDF “will continue to act against Hamas in all corners of Gaza, including in Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold,” the premier vows, to applause.

“Whoever tells us not to operate in Rafah is telling us to lose the war and that will not happen,” he says.

“Our enemies have brought on themselves [destruction]. He who spoke about spiderwebs is seeing lions,” a reference to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah calling Israel a “fragile spiderweb” following the October 7 Hamas massacre.

Netanyahu notes the mounting international pressure on Israel to end the war and says Israel will withstand these pressures as its aim is “total victory in war.”

“There is international pressure and it’s growing, but particularly when the international pressure rises, we must close ranks, we need to stand together against the attempts to stop the war,” he says.

Western leaders should understand that “when we defeat the murderers of October 7th, we prevent the next September 11th,” he says. “That is why you must stand behind Israel and behind the IDF,” he adds.

“We will all stand together, heart to heart, [and] remember our fallen and ensure… victory,” says Netanyahu.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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