newsIsrael at War

Invoking ‘Never Again,’ Netanyahu reiterates vow to destroy Hamas

"There is no alternative to total victory. We must win—and we will win," said the Israeli premier.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv. Dec. 16, 2023. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv. Dec. 16, 2023. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night reiterated Jerusalem’s commitment to destroying Hamas, returning the hostages still being held in the Gaza Strip by the terrorist group and ensuring that the enclave can never again pose a security threat to the Jewish state.

“We will never forget the atrocities of Oct. 7. We will never forget the massacre, the rapes, the murders and the mutilations. We will never forget the abductions,” Netanyahu began in an address to the nation on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“As of today, we have returned 110 of our hostages and we are committed to returning all of them home. We are dealing with this, and we are doing so around the clock, including now. We will never forgive what the Hamas monsters did to our daughters and our sons; therefore, there is no alternative to total victory. We must win—and we will win,” he continued.

Netanyahu then pivoted to the “absurd” proceedings against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

“There is no greater absurdity than what occurred…on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. There were those who came to The Hague to—falsely and outrageously—accuse us of genocide. On whose behalf did they come? On behalf of Hamas, the ‘new Nazis,’ who came to perpetrate genocide against us,” said Netanyahu.

“I hold here Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ in Arabic. Our fighters found this book in civilians’ homes in the Gaza Strip. They found extensive antisemitic and Nazi literature there. This is what they educate their children on. Therefore, I insist that after we eliminate Hamas, what is called ‘the day after’ in Gaza, there will be no element that educates its children, not only for terrorism but also for the destruction of Israel, for the destruction of the entire Jewish people,” added the premier.

“I must tell you, the very willingness in The Hague to discuss this ridiculous claim, the very fact that it was not rejected outright, proves that many in the world have not learned anything from the Holocaust. But we have learned from it,” said Netanyahu.

While the ICJ, the main judicial arm of the United Nations, did not throw out the case, the judges did reject Pretoria’s request to order a halt to the war against Hamas. In its provisional ruling, the court also dismissed South Africa’s demand that residents of the northern Gaza Strip be allowed to return to the area immediately.

A final decision from the court could take years. Friday’s ruling is binding according to international law, yet the court lacks an enforcement mechanism.

In the result, Netanyahu insisted on Saturday that the Jewish people can count only on itself to secure its future.

“The main lesson of the Holocaust is that only we will defend ourselves, by ourselves. Nobody will do this for us. Therefore, despite the great pain that is burning our hearts, we must continue to be strong and determined and we must return fire against those who seek our destruction,” said Netanyahu.

“The state of the Jews arose from the ashes of the Holocaust in order to promise a defensive shield for the Jewish people. Israel, like every sovereign country, has the basic right to defend itself. Nobody will take this right from us, and nobody will stop us from implementing it,” he added.

The prime minister went on to state that the war against Hamas was of unparalleled justice and morality, a war thrust “on us by an abhorrent enemy that openly declares its intention to murder all the Jews. Therefore, we are determined to finish the task, to eliminate Hamas. And if it takes time, we will not relent in the mission….

“We will win a total victory, and our commitment to win a total victory is the first and most important guarantee of achieving it. We have no other choice apart from total victory. We will win because we have a strong people and daring fighters who are sacrificing our lives to defend the eternity of Israel.”

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