update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu: ‘If necessary, we will fight with our fingernails’

The Jewish state will stand alone if it must, the Israeli prime minister said, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said he would cut off arms to Israel if it attacks Rafah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks on the Jewish state's war against Hamas, May 9, 2024. Credit: Prime Minister's Office.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks on the Jewish state's war against Hamas, May 9, 2024. Credit: Prime Minister's Office.

Jerusalem will win the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip with its fingernails, if necessary, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Thursday night, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said he would cut arms supplies to the Jewish state if Israel launched a major attack in Rafah.

“If we need to stand alone, we will stand alone,” he stated. “But we have much more than fingernails, and with that same strength of spirit, with God’s help, together we will win.”

The premier noted that Israel will celebrate its Independence Day on Tuesday, per the Hebrew calendar.

“In the War of Independence 76 years ago, we were the few against the many. We did not have weapons,” he said. “There was an arms embargo on Israel, but with great strength of spirit, heroism and unity among us, we were victorious.”

The Biden administration has withheld approval of a sale to the Israel Defense Forces of two types of precision-guided bombs, as U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a Senate committee on Wednesday.

Biden told CNN on Wednesday evening that Washington would stop providing weapons to the Jewish state if Israel goes into Rafah, the last Hamas terrorist stronghold located in the southernmost Gaza Strip.

Earlier on Thursday, Netanyahu implicitly reaffirmed Jerusalem’s resolve to defeat Hamas in Rafah, even if it has to fight without U.S. backing.

Sharing a recording of his May 5 speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem on social media, the premier reiterated that “no amount of pressure, no decision by any international forum will stop Israel from defending itself.”

“Eighty years ago, in the Holocaust, the Jewish people were totally defenseless against those who sought our destruction,” Netanyahu said in the speech, delivered on the occasion of the first Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

“Today, we again confront enemies bent on our destruction,” he added. “As the prime minister of Israel, the one and only Jewish state, I pledge here today, from Jerusalem, on this Holocaust Remembrance Day, if Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

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