update deskIsrael at War

‘Our soldiers did not fall in vain,’ Netanyahu tells Sullivan in Tel Aviv

The U.S. national security advisor traveled to Tel Aviv for discussions with top Israeli officials about the war against Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Tel Aviv, Dec. 14, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Tel Aviv, Dec. 14, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

The more than 450 Israeli soldiers who have been killed fighting the Hamas terrorist organization “did not fall in vain,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

“I greatly appreciate the U.S. support for Israel—in supplying munitions to the IDF, curbing the attempts at the United Nations to stop the fighting, and in assisting the return of our hostages,” Netanyahu stated following a meeting with Sullivan at Israel’s Kirya military headquarters.

“I told our American friends: our heroic warriors did not fall in vain. From the deep pain of their falling, we are more determined than ever to continue fighting until Hamas is eliminated—until complete victory,” added the premier.

Sullivan touched down in Tel Aviv earlier on Thursday for discussions with top Israeli officials about the war against Hamas.

During a separate meeting at the Kirya, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told Sullivan that the Israel Defense Forces operation against Hamas terrorists in Gaza would “take more than a few months.”

“It will be a long war that we will win in the end. I thank the American administration for its unreserved support,” said Gallant, according to a readout from his office.

Later on Thursday, the U.S. delegation sat down with Netanyahu, Gallant, Hanegbi, Minister without Portfolio Benny Gantz, Shas leader Aryeh Deri, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog.

According to an Israeli readout of the meeting, they spoke about “the elimination of Hamas, the release of all the hostages, the dismantling of Hamas’s military capabilities and the end of its rule in Gaza.”

The delegations also discussed ways to confront the threats emanating from Lebanon’s Hezbollah to Israel’s north and Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the south, “which together with Hamas are part of Iran’s Axis of Evil,” Netanyahu’s office said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel earlier this month, and American Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is scheduled to visit next week.

The visits come amid reports that the Biden administration is pressuring Israel to shift tactics in the Gaza Strip, from an intensive ground, aerial and naval campaign to targeted attacks on terror leaders.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden said that Israel was losing the world’s support, and that Netanyahu needed to “change” and embrace the two-state solution.

“This is the most conservative government in Israel’s history,” said Biden, adding that the government “doesn’t want a two-state solution.”

“I think he has to change and—with this government, this government in Israel is making it very difficult for him to move,” Biden said, per a White House transcript.

Hours earlier, Netanyahu said that Biden fully supports Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas, even if there are disagreements on post-war plans.

“Following an intensive dialogue with President Biden and his team, we received full backing for the ground incursion and blocking the international pressure to stop the war,” said Netanyahu.

“Yes, there is disagreement about ‘the day after Hamas’ and I hope that we will reach agreement here as well,” stated the premier, vowing not to repeat the “mistake” of the Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993 and 1995.

“After the great sacrifice of our civilians and our soldiers, I will not allow the entry into Gaza of those who educate for terrorism, support terrorism and finance terrorism,” said Netanyahu.

“Gaza will be neither Hamastan nor Fatahstan,” he added, referring to the Fatah faction controlled by P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas.

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