Tel Aviv: Hitting back at the global criticism over civilian deaths in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his vow to defeat Hamas pledging to “stand firm against the world if necessary”, Times of Israel reported. In a joint press conference, PM Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz urged the Western leaders to throw their support behind the Jewish state, stating that its victory would mean “victory for the entire free world as well”.
He also indicated that Israel would oppose the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza following the war, Times of Israel reported. The pushback came after several countries over the weekend expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the civilian casualties in the Strip.
Earlier on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged that more needs to be done to protect civilians in Gaza and ensure humanitarian aid reaches them, saying that “far too many Palestinians have been killed” during the war.
Netanyahu urged worldwide backing for his opposition to a ceasefire that doesn’t include a return of the hundreds of hostages being held in Gaza by Palestinian terrorists, and called on Americans to join the demand for the destruction of Hamas, which he said “poses a danger to them too”. He charged that most Americans share that realization, Times of Israel reported.
He noted that in some countries, there are those who are pressuring the leaders to push for a ceasefire, an apparent reference to mass pro-Palestinian demonstrations calling for such a move, such as a mass rally Saturday in London. “Don’t cave to the pressure,” Netanyahu said. “Our war is your war. Israel has to win for its own sake and for the world.”
“In any case, no international pressure, no false allegations about IDF soldiers and our state,” he said, will impact Israel’s insistence on protecting itself. Israel will “stand firm against the world if necessary,” Netanyahu asserted.
Netanyahu also slammed French President Emmanuel Macron over his remarks that there was “no justification” of Israeli bombings on children, women and old people.
Addressing Macron’s criticism, Netanyahu said, “He made a serious mistake, factually and morally. It’s Hamas preventing the evacuation of civilians, not Israel.”
“Israel tells them to leave,” Netanyahu stressed. “It’s not Israel that locates itself in hospitals, in schools, in UNRWA and UN facilities — it’s Hamas. Therefore, it is not Israel but Hamas that is responsible for harm to civilians,” Times of Israel quoted Netanyahu as saying. “And I say to the president of France and our other friends — it will reach you too,” Netanyahu said.
He added, “Immunity must not be given to terrorists who carry out this double war crime. We are truly doing everything to minimize harm to civilians or non-combatants, but we will not give Hamas the license to murder our citizens without our response. We can do without the moral preaching,” Netanyahu further said.
On October 7, over 2000 Hamas terrorists breached Israeli borders and carried out a horrific terror attack killing over 1400 people. In response, Israel has launched a strong counteroffensive targeting Hamas units in the Gaza Strip. However, it has also received condemnation from rights groups and many countries over the civilian death toll. According to Hamas run ministry in Gaza, over 10,000 people including over 2500 children have been killed in Gaza.