Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin NetanyahuG.P.O.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday held a press conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem,

"The essence of our struggle to free the hostages is the negotiations and the strong military pressure," Netanyahu said. "Up to this moment, Hamas' demands are hallucinatory and of unambiguous implications: defeat for Israel. It is clear that we will not agree to them. But when Hamas wants to stop these hallucinatory responses, we will be able to make progress."

"We will not stop until we bring down all of Hamas' battalions. The day is not far off when Hamas leaders will no longer have an escape. It is only a matter of time. I say to the world's leaders: Israel will fight until it achieves a complete victory, and that includes Rafah as well. Whoever wants to prevent us from operating in Rafah is essentially telling us to lose the war. I will not lend a hand to this.

"I made it clear to the Cabinet and I reiterate it to the world this evening: An arrangement will be achieved only by direct negotiations between the parties, without pre-conditions. Under my leadership, Israel will continue to strongly oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. And when do they want to give such unilateral recognition? After the terrible massacre of October 7. There can be no greater and unprecedented prize to terrorism, which will also prevent any future peace agreement."

He stressed, "In order to be victorious, we need to be united. Not united for a moment, but truly united."

When asked about the discussion of whether Israel should call elections, Netanyahu said, "There is a date for elections in another few years. I do not suggest busying ourselves with it during a war. We need unity right now. We need to remain together - we still have a quarter of Hamas' fighting power left to wipe out. We are breaking their infrastructure down, we have brought back over half of our hostages and we will bring back the rest. We need to unite for the war effort."