Netanyahu: Even I will need to answer for failures over Hamas massacre

Oct 7 was a ‘black day for Israel’ but the reckoning will come after the war, the prime minister said, adding that Israel is in ‘fight for our existence.’

By Meir Dolev, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged for the first time that he must also be held accountable for the military debacle that transpired on October 7, when Hamas took the IDF by surprise, resulting in an invasion of southern Israel and the tragic loss of over 1,400 lives, 4,000 injured and more than 220 kidnapped.

“A thorough investigation of this failure is crucial. We all must provide answers, and that includes me,” he declared in a live primetime broadcast.

“October 7 was a black day in our history. We will get to the bottom of what happened on the southern border and the area surrounding Gaza,” Netanyahu said.

“Nevertheless,” he continued, “discussions of accountability must be postponed until after the war,” which he called a “fight for Israel’s existence.”

His address coincided with the war’s 19th day, and came after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and other high-ranking military officials also admitting their responsibility in the gravest military blunders since the founding of Israel.

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“As the nation’s leader, my duty is to safeguard our future, and presently, my focus is leading the State of Israel and its citizens to a resounding victory over our enemies.

“The time has come for us to unite and push forward to victory,” he urged.

The government of Israel will designate official days of national mourning to honor the memory of those lost in the October 7 massacre, Netanyahu also announced during the address.

He vowed that the imminent ground offensive would uproot Hamas from Gaza, although he did not specify a commencement date.

Earlier in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. was pressuring Israel to postpone the ground assault.

“We are gearing up for a ground incursion. Details regarding the timing, strategy, and the extensive considerations behind this decision, most of which remain confidential, will not be disclosed,” he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden, speaking from Washington, told reporters that he had advised Netanyahu to consider the potential of safely rescuing the hostages before proceeding with a ground invasion.

“I have indicated that if it’s possible to get the folks out safely, that is what he should do,” Biden said.

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In Israel, Netanyahu emphasized during his address that the country is “engaged in a fight for our very survival.” His remarks followed a security cabinet meeting on the 19th day of the conflict, as the likelihood of a ground offensive shifted from a question of ‘when’ to ‘if’.

Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s two primary objectives for the war: “Our goal is to dismantle Hamas by destroying its military and governmental capabilities, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to bring the hostages back home.”