newsIsrael at War

Netanyahu to bereaved families: Your children did not die in vain

Members of the Heroism Forum urged the government to resist international pressure to stop the war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with representatives of bereaved families from the Heroism Forum, Dec. 21, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with representatives of bereaved families from the Heroism Forum, Dec. 21, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Thursday night at military headquarters in Tel Aviv with bereaved families from the Heroism Forum, who told him about their loved ones that fell in battle.

The families stressed that all of the goals of the war must be achieved and urged the government to resist international pressure for a ceasefire.

Netanyahu told the representatives that Israel would not stop the war until Hamas is defeated.

“There will not be another round [of fighting]. There is national consensus: There needs to be victory—until the goals are completed,” said Netanyahu.

“This is a difficult and brutal war, and you know how difficult it is. We will do everything to safeguard the soldiers’ lives,” he added.

Hours earlier, Netanyahu stressed that the war would continue until “the elimination of Hamas and the release of all our hostages.

“The choice I offer to Hamas is very simple: surrender or die. They don’t have and won’t have any other choice,” he said.

Netanyahu also appeared to maintain his position of recent weeks that the Palestinian Authority will not be allowed to rule Gaza after the conflict.

“And after we eliminate Hamas, I will work with all my might to ensure that Gaza no longer poses any threat to Israel. Neither Hamastan nor Fatahstan,” the premier said.

Netanyahu’s video remarks were published after National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi wrote of the possibility of a “moderate Palestinian governing body” running the coastal enclave, echoing White House calls for a “revitalized” P.A. to take over a post-Hamas Gaza Strip.

“Israel is aware of the desire of the international community and the countries of the region to integrate the Palestinian Authority the day after Hamas,” Hanegbi wrote in the London-based Arabic-language Elaph online daily, in an op-ed titled “The Iron Swords War and the Day That Follows.”

The P.A. would require “a fundamental reform,” he said, and would need to raise a generation “on the values of moderation and tolerance, without incitement to violence against Israel.” (The P.A. is notorious for its anti-Israel and anti-Jewish curriculum.)

Hanegbi acknowledged that “in its current form, the Authority finds it difficult to do this, and it will require a great effort and assistance from the international community as well as from the countries of the region, and we are ready for this effort.”

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