IDF Chief of Staff says Israel won’t be blackmailed into ceasefire

Last week, the Qatari Prime Minister met with hostage families and offered a phased release of hostages in exchange for the complete withdrawal of IDF troops from Gaza.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said that while the release of hostages is an urgent issue, Israel won’t be blackmailed into a ceasefire by Hamas, and military pressure is required to free the captives.

Halevi declared, “Today we approved plans for the Southern Command to continue fighting and increase military pressure on Hamas. Pressure that will lead to the dismantling of Hamas and the return of the hostages.”

He added, “This pressure, and only it, has managed to bring about the return of many hostages.”

Halevi emphasized that although “every minute is critical” for the release of the hostages, Israel will avoid being forced into a situation that would mean it would be “blackmailed into a ceasefire.”

He said, “We are working by all means, mostly covert, in order to return them and will continue to do so until we return them all (the hostages).”

Last week the Qatari Prime Minister met with hostage families and offered a phased release of hostages in exchange for Hamas leaders being allowed to live in exile and a complete withdrawal of IDF troops from Gaza.

“The Hamas leadership is pinning its hopes on a cessation of hostilities and is convinced that this moment is near,” explained Halevi, adding that Israel should “be persistent” with its goals to eliminate Hamas which “will take a long time.”

Halevi outlined the strategy in Gaza with focus on dismantling Hamas infrastructure in central and southern Gaza and said that the IDF discovered and destroyed a missile factory in the area.

He then mentioned that many of the reservists serving in Gaza have been sent home, but added they may be called back up in the future with “sufficient time to prepare.”

Halevi discussed the threat of Hezbollah in the north which has “chosen to act as a ‘Hamas shield’ under Iran’s directives, and we are exacting an ever-increasing price from it.”

Halevi concluded by saying that an investigation into the errors that led to the October 7th massacre will be underway shortly and won’t be delayed until the end of the war.

“We must begin to understand what happened, in order to better protect the residents of the [Gaza border communities] and in order to know how to ensure that this day will not be repeated,” he said.