Yoav Gallant in Gaza
Yoav Gallant in GazaDefense Ministry

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (Likud) on Saturday night held an operational assessment in Gaza, reiterating his promise to continue the efforts to bring the hostages home.

During the assessment, Gallant met with commanders and combat soldiers from the IDF’s infantry, armored corps, engineering and navy forces, operating in the Gaza Strip. Minister Gallant entered the strip via a naval vessel, together with the Commander of the Israeli Navy Vice Adm. David Sa’ar Salma.

Gallant also discussed the use of the pause in favor of military preparations for the resumption of ground operations, once the framework for the release of hostages is exhausted. During the briefing, Minister Gallant approved operational plans.

Gallant also toured the northern coast and received a briefing on the troops’ activities during operations, as well as security measures taken during the pause.

"Our ability to bring home the first group of hostages is the result of military pressure," Gallant said. "As soon as military pressure is applied, they [Hamas] want a break. When you increase the pressure, they want another break. When you increase the pressure even more, they are ready to come forward with an offer, and when you increase it even more, they are read to come with an acceptable offer – that’s the whole method."

"We cannot leave Gaza and stop the war until we reach a situation in which we bring back all the hostages – because we have many more [held captive]."

Speaking directly to the soldiers, he said: "There is a direct correlation between your actions and the elimination of the enemy [Hamas] and also between your actions and our ability to bring back the hostages – that’s the process. The time frame for the pause is short – it won’t take weeks, it will take days – a little more, a little less – any further negotiations will be held under fire. That is, they want to continue discussing the next time [the next pause] – it will be held while our forces are fighting – that’s the basis [for any pause]."