Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed his nation on Saturday, telling them that the war against Hamas would continue for “many months,” until all of Israel’s goals had been met, including the destruction of Hamas and the return of the hostages.
Netanyahu spoke as news reports circulated that the Biden administration was pressuring Israel to begin winding down the war in January 2024 (prior to the U.S. presidential primaries), and that the fight in southern Gaza was proving slow and difficult.
The prime minister spoke about the Israeli public’s enthusiasm and support for the war effort. Everywhere he went in the country, he said, he heard the same message: “Continue! Don’t stop!”
He noted that Israel was not just committed to fighting Hamas, but also to resisting Iran and its proxies, such as the Houthis in Yemen. He added that Israel was prepared to do “everything” to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
Netanyahu struck an emotional tone in speaking about the losses suffered by Israeli forces since the ground invasion of Gaza began in late October. On Saturday, the total of those killed in action reached 170. The prime minister read from a letter that a fallen soldier had written in case he died, urging Israel to continue the fight.
In the question-and-answer period that followed, Netanyahu deflected questions about the leak of a Supreme Court opinion striking down his judicial reforms, as well as about rifts within the government of national unity about how Gaza should be governed “the day after.”
“First of all, there should be a day after,” Netanyahu said, stressing the need to win the war. He emphasized the need for unity and noted that soldiers from the left and right, religious and secular, were fighting alongside each other.
Netanyahu also fielded questions about whether he took responsibility for the security failures on October 7; whether he would resign; whether there should be new elections; and about an op-ed written by former prime minister Naftali Bennett in the Wall Street Journal, revealing he had ordered strikes in Iran in 2022, and calling for the U.S. and Israel to attack Iran directly, rather than focusing on Iran’s terrorist proxies. Netanyahu said Bennet made a mistake by speaking about secret military operations.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the 2021 e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now updated with a new foreword. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.