Netanyahu warns against territorial concessions and ending Gaza war prematurely

Israel must retain full security control west of the Jordan, Netanyahu says, rejecting Palestinian statehood and warning against early end to Gaza war.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday defended his government’s handling of the Gaza war, rejecting calls for a quick end to the conflict and warning against future territorial concessions.

Speaking at a press conference at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv Thursday night, Netanyahu pushed back against claims the IDF has dramatically scaled back its operations in the Gaza Strip, amid American pressure to “transition” to a low-scale conflict narrowly focused on Hamas leaders.

“In the last 48 hours, our soldiers have conducted battles in Khan Yunis, in which they eliminated dozens of terrorists. In the northern Gaza Strip, our soldiers have destroyed rocket launchers and eliminated dozens of additional terrorists.”

“Also, in recent days, we have destroyed a major rocket production facility, and it is not the only one. Contrary to what is being said, the war is continuing on all fronts, and it will continue on all fronts – until all of the goals that we set are achieved.”

The prime minister emphasized that the war will take “many long months” to complete, but reiterated his promise to achieve “total victory over Hamas,” which Netanyahu has repeatedly defined as the terror group’s destruction.

“Victory will yet take many long months, but we are determined to achieve it. And there is another ‘but’, a very difficult ‘but’: While our soldiers are giving their lives in order to complete the victory over Hamas, I hear other voices which are trying to weaken them. There are those in the studios who claim: ‘Victory is impossible’. I utterly reject this.”

“Israel under my leadership will not compromise on less than total victory over Hamas, and we will win. I say this again, so that no one will be in doubt: We are striving for total victory, not just ‘to strike Hamas’ or ‘to hurt Hamas’, not ‘another round with Hamas’ but total victory over Hamas.”

Responding to pressure from both abroad and even within his own government – including Minister Gadi Eizenkot – Netanyahu warned that a premature end to the war would leave Israel’s long-term security in jeopardy.

“We will continue to fight will full force until we achieve all of our goals: Returning our hostages, and I say – only continued military pressure will lead to their release, eliminating Hamas and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to Israel, that there will be no element in it that educates for terrorism, finances terrorism and sends terrorists against us.”

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“Halting the war before our goals are achieved will harm Israel’s security for generations. I tell you, citizens of Israel, we are not working just to ensure our security today – we are working to ensure our security for generations.”

“Halting the war before the goals are achieved will broadcast a message of weakness and encourage our enemies to think that they can defeat us, and then the next massacre will be only a matter of time; therefore, we will not compromise on less than total victory.”

In a question-and-answer session after his address, Netanyahu denounced calls for Palestinian statehood and said the October 7th invasion of southern Israel highlighted the dangers of territorial concessions.

“All territory we evacuate, we get terror, terrible terror against us,” Netanyahu said, pointing to the examples of the Oslo Agreement leading to withdrawals in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza in the 1990s, the 2000 withdrawal from the southern Lebanon security zone, and the 2005 Gaza Disengagement.

Israel, Netanyahu continued, must retained “security control” over the area west of the Jordan River, “in any future arrangement, or in the absence of an arrangement.”

“That is a vital condition.”