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Netanyahu: Defeating Hamas would be ‘stinging blow to Iran’

Contrary to the picture being presented in America, the vast majority of the Israeli public is behind the government’s war goals, said the prime minister.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses AIPAC board members at his office in Jerusalem, March 18, 2024. Photo by Ma'ayan Toaff/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses AIPAC board members at his office in Jerusalem, March 18, 2024. Photo by Ma'ayan Toaff/GPO.

Victory in the war against Hamas would deliver a “stinging blow to the Iran terror axis,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, adding that Israelis are united in pursuit of this goal.

“The vast majority of the people, the army, the [IDF] reservists. They want victory because they understand that victory is essential for survival,” the premier told board members of the pro-Israel AIPAC lobbying group at his office in Jerusalem.

Contrary to the picture being presented in the United States, Netanyahu asserted that the vast majority of the public is behind the government’s goals of destroying Hamas, freeing the hostages and preventing Gaza from again threatening Israel.

Additionally, Israel must push Hezbollah back from the border, the prime minister said.

“The description [being painted in the U.S.] is that you have an outlier prime minister with some extreme fringe groups and that is what is driving the policy. It is false, deliberately false. Wrong. There is unity among the people to achieve victory along the lines I described. It is within reach, and we are going to do it,” Netanyahu said.

“If we achieve these goals, then we will also deliver a stinging blow to the Iran terror axis which is behind everything that we are seeing here today,” he continued.

This is not just Israel’s battle, but also “the battle for the victory of the Israel-American-moderate Arab axis against the Iran axis,” the prime minister stressed.

Netanyahu attempted to allay concerns about evacuating noncombatants from Rafah in southern Gaza, saying that there is “plenty of space” between Rafah and the central corridor that takes up 65% of the Strip’s territory.

He said that those arguing against the Rafah operation, who would leave the remaining Hamas battalions in place, are making a case for losing the war.

“They keep saying that local politics is interfering with this. They may be right, but on which side of the pond? We have to win this war.

“We have to stand together here, and we have to stand together there, because it’s the right thing to do and the necessary thing to do,” Netanyahu said. “It’s the one thing that will ensure the viability, future and security of the State of Israel.”

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