Netanyahu at Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
Netanyahu at Foreign Affairs and Defense CommitteeNoam Moskowitz/Knesset spokesperson

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participated on Monday in a discussion of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, where he commented on the continuation of the campaign against Hamas and the possibility that another fighting front would open in the north of the country.

"First of all, we will win in the south and then we will also take care of the north. As a first step we will distance Hezbollah beyond the Litani River, and later we will also have to take care of the organization itself," Netanyahu stated.

He also explained that Israel must allow aid to enter Gaza, explaining that doing so gives it the possibility of conducting a military campaign. "If there is a humanitarian collapse in Gaza - I will not be able to lead this campaign," he said.

On the American involvement and the attempts to pressure Israel to take certain directions in the fighting, the Prime Minister said, "We are exerting pressure back in the US through prime time interviews there. Over there, it is not like in the studios in Israel. Over there, they let you talk."

Netanyahu made clear that, in his opinion, the Palestinian Authority cannot in any way be the solution for governing Gaza the day after the war. "Oslo was the mother of all sins. The difference between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is only that Hamas wants to destroy us here and now, whereas the PA wants to do it in stages. We cooperate with them against Hamas when it serves both their interest and ours, and up to a certain limit. We decided several months ago that we do not wantthem to collapse so that Hamas does not rise up in Judea and Samaria as well."

Netanyahu stated that the State of Israel will be solely responsible for security in Gaza the day after the war. Only the State of Israel will be responsible for the demilitarization of the Strip. The Gulf countries will invest in reconstruction and we will have to build an entity that does not want to destroy us that will manage the civil administration there.We will allow anyone who wants to go out, to do so.Today, Hamas does not allow that."

It was later leaked from the closed discussion that the Prime Minister claimed that the number of victims of the Oslo Accords "is the same as the number of victims on October 7", which is approximately 1,200 people, "but over a longer period of time".

Labor leader Merav Michaeli protested Netanyahu’s comparison, but committee chairman Yuli Edelstein interrupted her and scolded her for "constantly interrupting and arguing with the Prime Minister".

Another confrontation erupted between the two when Michaeli pointed out that the return of the hostages held by Hamas is "not only a moral and humanitarian matter, but a strategic matter for the State of Israel and we cannot afford not to see it."She turned to Netanyahu and told him, "You have to remember that there are also elderly people your age there."

MK Tally Gotliv shouted at Michaeli in response, "I ask that the Prime Minister not be referred to as an elderly person", but MK Michaeli stressed, "There is nothing derogatory about elderly people".