Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Minister Benny Gantz held a joint press conference Saturday evening in Tel Aviv.
"We are doing everything to be worthy of the fallen. We will not stop until the mission is completed. We have one goal: to win. We will eliminate Hamas and return our hostages," Netanyahu stressed.
"Hamas practically lost control of the northern Gaza Strip. From [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar to the last of the terrorists, they are all dead men."
The Prime Minister also sent a message to Hezbollah, following the rocket launches in the last few hours: "We are also prepared on the northern front. I warn Hezbollah: Do not make a mistake and enter the war. This will be the biggest mistake of your life. Your entry into the war will harm the fate of the citizens of Lebanon. The goal is to restore security in the north as well. Hezbollah is taking losses and if it crosses the line it will see the strength of our army. After the war there will be another campaign there, the army will grow and there will be active protection back on all our borders. We gave the residents in both the south and the north the sense of security to return to their homes. I tell you, the places in the south and the north will flourish even more."
"I hear all kinds of publications in the international media from unqualified parties. I would like to emphasize: The return of the hostages is a central goal in the fighting and at the top of the agenda. We will do everything to bring them back. There will be no ceasefire without the return of our hostages. We have international contacts being maintained by the head of the Mossad, David Barnea, with the assistance of General Nitzan and when there is something to update, we will update the public. Until then - silence is beautiful."
Netanyahu noted, "No amount of national pressure will change our belief in our just cause and our duty to defend ourselves."
"The 'day after' will only be after the elimination of Hamas, Gaza will be demilitarized. We will continue to control security in the Gaza Strip for as long as it takes to prevent terrorism. Wherever there is no Israeli security control, terrorism returns and grows."
In response to the question of whether the Palestinian Authority will rule Gaza the day after the war, he replied, "Gaza will not be ruled by an authority that pays murderers and that educates to hatred and whose leader did not condemn the massacre."
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, "We have a supreme mission, both to win the war and to return the kidnapped." He added, "Hezbollah is playing with fire. Our forces on the ground are prepared for any eventuality. The pilots are in the cockpit and ready at any time. The citizens of Lebanon should know that if Nasrallah makes a mistake, the fate of Beirut may be like the fate of Gaza."
"Hamas is under great pressure. The pressure is increasing. They hear the tanks over the tunnels. You hear the bulldozers hitting the houses and know very well that they will get to them. The deeper we go into Gaza, the stronger our power, the greater the pressure on Hamas, and thus the greater the chances of reaching the hostages."
"I also wanted to talk about one of the hostages - Kfir, a 10-month-old baby from Nir Oz. He and his family were abducted to Gaza. He is exactly the age of my youngest grandson and I ask myself who plays with him? Who takes care of him? Who lets him eat? These questions bother me all the time, and they are also addressed to world leaders."
Referring to the comments by French President Emmanuel Macron that "Israel must stop killing women and babies in Gaza", Gallant said: "I hear some of them and ask myself and them: Where does this courage come from to preach morality to us while fighting? 1500 soldiers, civilians, women, and children were kidnapped or killed in battles. This happened only a month ago. I want to say to those European leaders who criticize us: the State of Israel in 2023 is not in 1943. We have the ability and the duty to defend ourselves on our own and this is what we will do."
"We will return the hostages and in Gaza, there will no longer be a Hamas. We will have complete security and freedom to act against any enemy. We have long days of fighting ahead of us, we need fortitude and mental resilience," said the Defense Minister.
Minister Benny Gantz said, "At this time many are in rallies for our hostages, I send them a warm embrace from here and promise: we are doing everything - operationally and politically - to bring the girls and boys back home."
"I say to the public - don't consume propaganda, there is only one factor that will reliably inform about developments and also prevent damage to efforts - the Israeli government through its authorized officials. Whatever the developments are - the fighting continues and will continue until our goals are achieved."
He also referred to the day after the war, saying that "the countries of the region have a role and the ability to help the Palestinians and themselves. They must fulfill it. I suggest that they provide humanitarian aid and understand that the reality requires the change of the regime in Gaza."
"It is important for us that the whole world knows that Israeli society is united and strong, that we will face everything together. Our only consideration is victory and the good of Israel; we must invest all our national resources in this and this alone. We are obligated to invest all our resources to return the kidnapped and preserve the resilience of the State of Israel. We are doing everything operationally and politically to bring our sons and daughters home."
"The pictures of the fallen burn our hearts. On Thursday I visited the town of Yanuh-Jat, which lost an army officer. They are part of the story of the heroism of Israeli society."