Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden spoke on Sunday evening, hours after Hamas terrorists released 14 Israeli women and children and three Thai nationals.
Avigail Edan, who turned four last week, was among those released after about 50 days of captivity.
“What a joy it is to see her with us. But, on the other hand, how sad it is that she is returning to a reality in which she has no parents,” Netanyahu stated of Edan.
“She has no parents—but she has an entire nation that embraces her and we will take care of all her needs,” the prime minister stated. “Beyond this, I would like to say that there is also an outline that says that it is possible to release an additional 10 [hostages] each day. That would be welcome.”
Netanyahu stated that he also told Biden “that at the end of the outline, we will go to realizing our goals with full force: eliminating Hamas, ensuring that Gaza will not go back to being what it was, and, of course, releasing all of our hostages.”
Biden “welcomed the release of hostages by Hamas over the past three days, including a young, American girl,” per a White House readout of Biden’s call with Netanyahu.
“The two leaders also discussed the pause in the fighting and surge in much-needed additional humanitarian assistance into Gaza. The prime minister thanked the president for his tireless efforts to help broker and fully implement this deal,” the White House stated.
“The two leaders agreed that the work is not yet done and that they will continue working to secure the release of all hostages,” it added.
Biden spoke with members of Edan’s family in the United States and Israel on Sunday, per the White House press office.
Earlier in the day, Biden stopped short of calling for Hamas’s elimination, as Netanyahu stated. Instead, he told a reporter in Nantucket, Mass., that the end goal is that “Hamas is completely—how can I say it—no longer in control of any portion of Gaza.”
The prime minister also stated that the Israeli government will receive an “unprecedented” budget of about $7.85 billion (30 billion shekels) for a month-and-a-half to meet “the needs of the war.”
“The budget will fully meet the defensive and offensive needs of the Israel Defense Forces; look after the families of the hostages, the wounded, the fallen and those who have been murdered, as well as evacuated families in hotels and guest houses; and ensure that the Israeli economy will continue to work and prosper,” Netanyahu stated.
“The budget will support reservists, the Tekuma Authority for the rehabilitation of the communities, businesses that have been hurt, and emergency squads, as well as the health, social welfare and education needs of all citizens of Israel,” he added. “The budget is large and significant because the Israeli economy is stable and strong.”