Prime Minister Netanyahu
Prime Minister NetanyahuKobi Gideon/GPO

“Yesterday, on Independence Day, I visited our wounded heroic soldiers who are undergoing rehabilitation in hospital. I left with tears in my eyes but my soul was greatly uplifted. Our heroes told me two things: First, ‘continue to the end – until victory.’ The second: “We want to complete rehabilitation and return to our friends who are fighting.’ Unfortunately, not all of them will be able to do so. Together with you, I pray for their recovery. Thanks to these heroes, thanks to this tremendous spirit, we are here in our country. I promised them that we would do everything in order to fight until total victory.

Our forces are fighting throughout the Gaza Strip – in Jabaliya, Zeitoun and Rafah. We are doing this even as the civilian population is being evacuated and while fulfilling our obligation to its humanitarian needs. Our latest efforts are bearing fruit. As of now, in Rafah, almost half a million people have been evacuated from the areas of fighting. The humanitarian catastrophe that has been spoken of has not been realized, nor will it.

Eliminating Hamas is an essential step in order to ensure that on ‘the day after’ there will be no element in Gaza that can threaten us. One hundred days ago I directed the security echelon to allow local Gazans, who are not identified with Hamas, to be integrated into the civilian management of food allocation in Gaza. This attempt has not been successful because Hamas has threatened them and even hurt some of them in order to deter others.

Until it is clear that Hamas does not control Gaza militarily, nobody will be prepared to take upon himself the civil management of Gaza out of fear for their lives. Therefore, all the talk about ‘the day after’, while Hamas remains, will remain mere words devoid of content.

Contrary to what is being claimed, for months we have been engaged in various efforts to resolve this complex problem. Some of the efforts are covert and it is good that this is so. This is one of the objectives of the war that we have defined and we are determined to achieve it as well.

In any case, there is no alternative to military victory. The attempt to bypass it with this or that claim is simply detached from reality. There is one alternative to victory – defeat, military, diplomatic and national defeat. My government will not agree to this.

Today, the Government stated its opposition to last week’s UN decision to advance recognition of a Palestinian state. We will not reward the terrible massacre of October 7, which 80% of the Palestinians support, both in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria. We will not allow them to establish a terrorist state from which they will be able to vigorously attack us.

Nobody will prevent us, prevent Israel, from realizing our basic right to self-defense – not the UN General assembly or any other body. We will stand together with our head held high to defend our country.

Together we will fight and with G-d’s help – together we will win.”