Netanyahu dismisses calls for ceasefire, says that would be surrender to Hamas
Speaking to foreign media, PM rejects idea of resigning, vows war will go on until Hamas defeated; says civilization at stake, invokes Allied war against the Nazis
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says this is a "time for war." He has seen more than 1400 of his people and at least 8300 people in Gaza killed since the conflict with Hamas reignited.
Israeli forces have been bombarding Gaza in retaliation for the Hamas strike on October 7 on their territory. They have sent infantry, tanks and armored units across the border. On Monday, they claimed to have killed "dozens" of Hamas militants.
Quoting a verse from the biblical scripture of Ecclesiastes, Netanyahu told the crowd, “There is a time for peace and a time for war.”
“This is a time for war,” he continued. “A war for a common future. Today we draw a line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism. It is a time for everyone to decide where they stand.”
Calling Hamas’s onslaught “the worst savagery our people have seen since the Holocaust,” Netanyahu told the foreign press representatives that “Hamas murdered children in front of their parents, murdered parents in front of their children. They burned people alive, they raped women, they beheaded men, they tortured Holocaust survivors, they kidnapped babies.”
Israel has faced increasing calls for a ceasefire in their war against Hamas in Gaza in recent days, and on Friday, a United Nations resolution calling for a ceasefire with no mention of Hamas passed with an overwhelming majority.
Netanyahu has rejected appeals for a truce. "Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism," he said. He said being on the ground is the best hope of recovering the hundreds of hostages taken by Hamas. He said the troops have managed to free a soldier and greeted her "with open arms."
Netanyahu criticized footage released by Hamas that shows three other hostages accusing him of failing to protect Israelis. One woman asks him to "free Palestinians and their prisoners." Netanyahu dismissed the video as "cruel psychological propaganda."
Palestinians have been warned repeatedly to leave northern Gaza. A local journalist shared a video showing an Israeli tank on the main road connecting north and south. Some civilians fear they could be cut off.