Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, during which he said that the war against Hamas is not nearly finished.
“We are not stopping; we are continuing to battle. We will be intensifying the fighting in the coming days, as this will be a long war. It is not close to over,” Netanyahu told soldiers.
“We are proud of you and trust you. We see the determination and the desire to continue until the end,” he added.
Netanyahu was joined by Israel Defense Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amir Baram and other high-ranking officers.
In a Christmas message delivered Sunday night, the premier explained that the Jewish state was confronting “monsters who murdered children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children, who raped and beheaded women, who burned babies alive, who took babies hostages.
“This is a battle not only of Israel against these barbarians, it’s a battle of civilization against barbarism,” said Netanyahu.
Earlier Sunday, the Israeli leader said he had told U.S. President Joe Biden that the war would continue for “however long it takes.
“I appreciate the steadfast U.S. position—which supports our war effort—in the U.N. Security Council. I told President Biden yesterday that we will fight until absolute victory,” said Netanyahu.
The prime minister denied “erroneous reports” claiming the U.S. had prevented Israel from taking action against other hostile entities in the region. (The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Biden blocked Israel from attacking Hezbollah on Oct. 11, four days after Hamas’s massacre of some 1,200 people in the northwestern Negev.)
“Our decisions in the war are based on our operational considerations, and I will not expand further. They are not dictated by external pressure. The decision on how to use our forces is an independent decision of the IDF and nobody else,” said Netanyahu.