newsU.S.-Israel Relations

Netanyahu reaffirms promise to defeat Hamas, despite Biden threats

Israel's government is set to meet to discuss how to prosecute the war after the U.S. leader warned of an arms embargo.

Israeli rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marks Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, May 6, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Israeli rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marks Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, May 6, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

Amid the Biden administration’s decision to withhold arms from Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday reaffirmed Jerusalem’s resolve to defeat Hamas, even if it has to fight without U.S. backing.

Sharing a clip of his May 5 speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, the premier sought to reiterate 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 says in the speech, which was delivered on the occasion of the first Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) since the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre.

“Today, we again confront enemies bent on our destruction,” the premier continues. “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.”

The Biden administration has withheld the approval of the sale to the Israel Defense Forces of two types of precision-guided bombs.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed the pause in testimony at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday about the Defense Department fiscal 2025 budget request.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden told CNN 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.

Israel’s War Cabinet, as well as the broader Security Cabinet, is set to meet on Thursday to discuss the latest developments in the relationship with the United States.

A source in Jerusalem told Israel Hayom that the Cabinet is united in its view that the IDF should expand its operation in Rafah and occupy the city.

“Israel must do this to show the Biden administration and the entire international community—and of course also Iran and Israel’s other enemies—that we are not an American protectorate, but rather an independent country,” the source said.

According to the official, Washington’s steps could lead to a further deterioration on the northern front, sending a message to the Hezbollah terrorist group that Israel is weak and that the U.S. is not coming to its aid.

At a Defense Ministry ceremony on Thursday ahead of Israel’s Memorial Day, which will be marked next week, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed to achieve all war goals in the country’s north and south.

“I appeal to our enemies and our friends: It is impossible to subdue us,” said Gallant. “We will ensure Israel’s existence, whatever the cost may be, and keep clearly in mind the pledge we signed just a week ago at the Holocaust Day ceremony: Never again.”

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