Netanyahu: We have responsibility to rescue hostages, they have ‘knife at their throats’; it can’t always be done via military op

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference on November 22, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the hostages in Gaza have had a “knife to their throats” and that it is Israel’s responsibility to rescue them.

Netanyahu in a press conference notes that doing so is the fulfillment of the religious commandment to redeem hostages.

He says this has been done throughout Jewish history through military operations, but that sometimes those are not possible.

The premier describes returning the hostages as a “holy mission.”

Netanyahu stresses that the security establishment unanimously supported the deal to secure the release of 50 hostages, explaining that it will not harm the military objectives, rather it will even advance them.

The army will use the multi-day truce to prepare for the resumption of the war, Netanyahu says. “All of our forces will be protected during the pause
and intelligence collection will continue,” he says.

“The war continues. We will continue until we complete all of our goals,” Netanyahu says, listing those goals again as removing Hamas, returning all of the hostages, and ensuring that whatever comes next in Gaza will not pose a threat to Israel.

He reiterates that he will not allow an authority that incites against Israel to return to Gaza, referring to the Palestinian Authority. This repeated assertion has infuriated the US, as Netanyahu has refused to offer any alternatives for who will govern Gaza and the rejection of the PA has turned off several Arab governments from contributing to day-after planning.

Netanyahu says the IDF “will restore security both in the south and in the north.”

He also recognizes that “the victory has a huge price,” referring to the 70 soldiers who have fallen fighting in Gaza over the past month.

Netanyahu says he has met with bereaved parents who told him that they want the IDF to “continue until the end, until victory” and vows that that is what the army will do.

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