Gantz: We will keep striking at Hamas and come out on top

Defense Minister at press conference with Netanyahu and Chief of Staff: The objectives of our campaign are to bring about long-term quiet, strengthen the moderate forces in the region, and deny Hamas strategic capacity.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday evening held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

“I’d like to begin with a personal request of every one of you to protect yourselves and follow the instructions of the Homefront Command. Dozens of lives have been saved because people have stayed in safe rooms and followed instructions,” he said.

“We will offer full assistance to the people in Israel’s south and to our citizens everywhere. Because of the impressive stamina of the Israeli people, the IDF is able to devote itself to restoring calm, security and stability,” added Gantz.

“As the defense minister, I say: hold on tight; we will keep striking at Hamas and come out on top of this campaign in Gaza. But, no less important, we need to come out on top in the fight for our home.”

“The eve of the incoming Jewish holiday is an opportunity for every public leader to come forward, and for every one of us to choose solidarity, so that we can help deescalate internally. Unity and social resilience are our main challenges right now,” the Defense Minister continued.

“As Chief of Staff during Operation Protective Edge, along with the prime minister, the defense minister at the time, and the entire IDF, I led the IDF’s fighters to destroy Hamas’ offensive tunnels, which jeopardized the safety of the Gaza Envelope. As defense minister, I had the honor of tackling the underground challenge,” he said.

“Over the past few days, the IDF, under COS Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi’s leadership and command, has turned the Gazan network of tunnels, underground weapons smuggling tunnels, into death traps. A ‘Hamas metro’ has become ‘a fast train to hell.’ This is a strategic achievement in the war against Hamas, completely disrupting its strategy and approach,” stated Gantz.

“The IDF is reaching its goals and we know that Hamas was taken by surprise. For a long time now, we have been holding consultations within the defense establishment and the IDF, aiming to formulate plans to disrupt Hamas’ tunnel system, and strike at the organization and its leaders, and that is exactly what happened.”

“Our elimination of the underground operation caught them unprepared, Hamas leaders are fleeing from one hiding place to the next, and the people of Gaza understand that they’ve been taken hostage of terror organizations.”

“I would like to emphasize that the operative objectives of our campaign are to bring about long-term quiet, strengthen the moderate forces in the region, and deny Hamas strategic capacity,” Gantz said.

“As I said this morning to the American delegation and yesterday to my friend, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, there isn’t a sovereign country anywhere that would respond differently to a terror organization firing indiscriminately on its citizens. This isn’t simply our right; it is our moral duty. And we do so in a manner consistent with international law while exercising full judgement. As always, we will act responsibly in terms of our security, and wisely in terms of our diplomacy. Our attention is on every front, and we are have operative responses ready for anyone who tests us.”

“On the eve of Shavuot, I would like to convey, on my behalf on behalf of all of Israel’s citizens, my gratitude to the Shin-Bet, to IDF soldiers, and commanders, chiefly the COS, all of whom are leading the charge and fighting, even now, for Israel’s security.”

“We also need to relay our gratitude to the police officers, municipal authorities, and emergency response teams, all on the front lines.”

“We win when we’re together. We’ll win together.”

“Happy, and safe, Shavuot.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shavuot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)