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Netanyahu: Can’t support end of Hamas while pressing Israel to end war

"The war is continuing, intensively, in both northern and southern Gaza, in order to achieve all of our goals," the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 10, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 10, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Ceasefire calls are incompatible with supporting the removal of Hamas in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

“In the last two days, I have spoken with both [German] Chancellor Scholz and French President Macron, and with additional leaders as well. I told them that it is impossible to support the elimination of Hamas on the one hand, while on the other pressing us to end the war, which would prevent the elimination of Hamas,” Netanyahu remarked.

“I think that in this fight, justice is on our side and unity as well. When we are united as a people and a state, no force can prevent us from doing the right thing,” he added.

The premier also provided an update on the combined ground, aerial and naval campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, dubbed “Operation Swords of Iron,” which the IDF launched after the Oct. 7 terrorist assault on the northwestern Negev.

“The war is continuing, intensively, in both northern and southern Gaza, in order to achieve all of our goals: Eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza will never go back to being a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu on Saturday night praised the United States’s veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution the previous day calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The draft resolution failed to condemn the Hamas massacre of Oct. 7 or acknowledge Israel’s right to self-defense.

“I greatly appreciate the correct stance that the U.S. has taken in the U.N. Security Council,” said Netanyahu.

On Oct. 7, thousands of heavily armed Hamas gunmen broke across the border, followed by Gaza residents. They murdered more than 1,200 mostly Israeli civilians, wounded over 5,000 others and took back to Gaza some 240 hostages. Acts of torture, rape, mutilation, desecration of corpses and mass looting accompanied the attack.

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