Netanyahu: Calls for early elections benefit Hamas

Israeli premier pledges to move forward with Rafah operation, slams protests demanding snap elections.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back on calls for snap elections, saying that a war-time vote would “paralyze” the country for half a year or more and empower Hamas.

Thousands gathered outside of the Knesset Sunday, kicking off a series of protests in the capital set to last days.

Organized by a number of left-wing groups, including Brothers in Arms and the Kaplan Force, Sunday’s demonstration demanded the cancellation of the upcoming Knesset recess, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s resignation, and snap elections.

In a televised address Sunday evening, Netanyahu rejected calls for new elections, saying a snap vote would empower Hamas and leave Israel hamstrung for six to eight months in the midst of the ongoing war in Gaza.

“Calls for elections now during the war, a moment before victory, will paralyze Israel for at least six months; in my estimate, for eight months,” Netanyahu said.

“They will paralyze the negotiations for the release of our hostages and in the end will lead to ending the war before achieving its goals and the first to commend this will be Hamas, and that says it all.”

“I reiterate: I am committed to returning all of our hostages, women and men, civilians and soldiers, the living and the victims. I will not leave even one behind.”

Read  Blinken to visit Israel as Rafah battle looms

The Israeli premier also reiterated his pledge to move forward with the IDF’s much-anticipated ground operation into Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza, despite opposition from the Biden administration.

“I have approved the IDF operational plan for Rafah. The IDF is prepared for the evacuation of the civilian population and for the provision of humanitarian assistance.”

“This is the right thing both operationally and internationally. This will take time but it will be done. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there for one simple reason: There is no victory without entering Rafah and there is no victory without eliminating the Hamas battalions there.”

“This is a fundamental part of the goals of the war, which also include returning all of our hostages.”