“VWe want to learn the lessons,” said Netanyahu, in a statement on Israeli television, accompanied by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and minister without portfolio Benny Gantz.
The head of government added that Israel will maintain “the military and diplomatic effort” to ensure that all hostages return home.
Netanyahu lamented the “tragic death of our three hostages”, when “they were looking for salvation and disaster happened”, he noted.
“What would have happened if…, if it had been different… We were so close to hugging them,” said Netanyahu, like many Israelis faced with the tragic end of the three hostages. “But we cannot go back in time,” he warned, before remembering that all combatants know that “the distance between victory and disaster is the width of a hair.”
The government official stressed that the military offensive in the Gaza Strip will continue. “We fight for our existence and we have to continue until victory”, despite international pressure and losses”, he highlighted at an event held at the headquarters of the Israeli Armed Forces in Tel Aviv.
“Only military pressure” can facilitate the release of the hostages. “Without this, we have nothing,” Netanyahu warned, in response to calls to reach an agreement on a swap.
As for the future of the Gaza Strip when the military operation ends, Netanyahu stressed that he will not allow the Palestinian Authority to regain control of the enclave, transforming “Hamastan into Fatashtan”, even if that is the desire of the United States of America.
Netanyahu cited a study from last week that indicated that 82% of Palestinians in the West Bank justified the October 7 attack. “Should they control Gaza?” he asked.
Once Hamas is destroyed, “Gaza will be demilitarized” so that it will not pose a threat to Israel. “I tell the whole world. It’s not politics. It’s the desire of a vast majority of people (…). The Oslo mistake led us to the most extremist elements in the Arab world”, he observed, in an allusion to the Oslo Accords that led to the birth of the Palestinian Authority.
“The debate between Hamas and Fatah is not whether or not to eliminate the State of Israel, but how to do it. We must tell the truth and not create illusions, so I repeat: after the elimination of Hamas, Gaza will be under control Israeli and there will be nothing that threatens us”, he explained.
In turn, Defense Minister Yoav Galant stressed that “the entire nation of Israel feels the pain of the families of the hostages who lost their loved ones in very tragic and painful circumstances.”
“I spoke to the families. I felt the pain. They were very charged, painful and difficult conversations,” noted Galant, adding: “As Minister of Defense I am responsible for everything that happens in the Defense system, for everything that happens in this war, both for the achievements, the costs and the serious mistakes”.
The Hamas Health Ministry has reported 18,800 deaths in Israeli attacks on Gaza since the start of the war with Israel, triggered by the bloody attack by Hamas commandos on Israeli soil on October 7.
The attack left around 1,140 people dead, according to Israeli authorities.
Read Also: Israel announces end of operation near hospital, Hamas talks about massacre
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