newsIsrael at War

Netanyahu: Israel will not cave to demands Hamas survive

The PM called out the international community's moral blindness, asking, "Is your memory so short?"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference at his office in Jerusalem, Feb. 17, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference at his office in Jerusalem, Feb. 17, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israel will continue to fight until the Hamas terrorist group is defeated in the Gaza Strip, despite efforts to force Jerusalem to end the war immediately, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed at the start of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting.

“It is no secret that international pressure against us is increasing. There are those trying to stop the war now, before all of its goals are achieved,” began the premier. “They do this by making false accusations against the IDF, against the Israeli government and against the prime minister of Israel. They do this by trying to bring about elections in the midst of the war.

“So, let’s be clear,” continued Netanyahu, “if we stop the fighting now it means that Israel has lost the war, and we will not allow that. That is why we must not give in to these pressures, and we will not do so.”

The comments come amid growing tensions with the Biden administration and after Israeli officials across the political spectrum hit out at U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who implied that Netanyahu was the main obstacle to a “healthy and open decision-making process” concerning the future of the Jewish state.

In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday that Schumer described as a “major address” on a possible two-state solution, the Jewish senator labeled some of Netanyahu’s senior Cabinet members as “bigots” and “extremists” and called for an early election in Israel. He suggested that Washington should condition or cut off military aid to Jerusalem unless a new government is formed.

Also last week, a “very senior” Israeli official slammed a U.S. intelligence report that claimed Netanyahu’s government “may be in jeopardy,” amid ongoing criticism by Washington over Jerusalem’s prosecution of the war.

“Those who elect the prime minister of Israel are the citizens of Israel and no one else,” said the official. “Israel is not a protectorate of the U.S. but rather an independent and democratic country whose citizens are the ones who elect the government. We expect our friends to act to overthrow the terror regime of Hamas and not the elected government in Israel,” he added.

Netanyahu said on Sunday that such external developments serve to “strengthen our determination to keep fighting until the end—until the absolute victory. No international pressure will stop us from realizing all the goals of the war: The elimination of Hamas, the release of all our hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat against Israel.”

To achieve this, he stressed, the IDF will conquer Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah.

“This is the only way to destroy the rest of Hamas’s murderous battalions, and this is the only way to apply the military pressure necessary to release all our abductees,” said the premier, who on Friday approved the IDF’s plans in Rafah, including the evacuation of Gazan civilians.

“Those who say that the operation in Rafah will not happen are the same ones who said that we would not enter Gaza, that we would not operate in Shifa Hospital [a medical center in Gaza City that doubled as a Hamas command center], that we would not operate in Khan Yunis and that we would not resume fighting after the ceasefire [in November in which more than 100 hostages were freed].

“And that’s why I repeat: ‘We will act in Rafah. It will take a few weeks, and it will happen,'” the prime minister said.

Netanyahu then called out what he deems the world’s moral blindness.

“To our friends in the international community: Is your memory so short? So quickly did you forget October 7, the most horrible massacre committed against Jews since the Holocaust? So quickly are you ready to deny Israel the right to defend itself against the monsters of Hamas? Did you lose your moral conscience so quickly?

“Instead of pressuring Israel, which is fighting a just war against a cruel enemy, direct your pressure against Hamas and its patron—Iran. They are the ones who pose a danger to the region and the entire world,” said Netanyahu.

“In any case, will confront all these pressures, and with God’s help, we will continue to fight together until complete victory,” he said.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates