Netanyahu Defends Israel’s Actions Amid Global Pressure

By Yoni Weiss

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a joint press conference on Motzoei Shabbos in Tel Aviv that there is heavy international pressure against Israel’s war against Hamas.

He said that Israel has “eliminated thousands of terrorists,” including senior commanders, and destroyed command posts and tunnels. “We move forward with full force,” he added.

In comments seemingly responding to anger within the coalition against Israel allowing fuel into the Gaza Strip despite having vowed not to, Netanyahu listed all the ways Israel has ignored demands from foreign leaders, including pressure not to launch its ground invasion, not to go into Gaza City, and then not to go into Shifa Hospital. Israel was undeterred, he said.

“They also pressed us to agree to a full ceasefire; we refused. And I made clear that we would only agree to a temporary ceasefire and only for the return of our hostages.”

He added: “Together with my colleagues, I rebuff the pressure and make clear to the world: We will continue to fight until victory. Until we destroy Hamas. And until we bring our hostages home.

“We are insisting on our essential security and diplomatic interests… in the face of heavy opposition. When our enemies and our friends recognize our firm stance, when they hear it in international media interviews, and in discussions with leaders, we attain the necessary room for maneuver to continue the operation. This cannot be taken for granted.”

Netanyahu said that he greatly “appreciates the support of the U.S.” and says it is sending constant shipments of crucial weaponry and defense equipment, and noted the bipartisan support in the House and Congress.

He said that Israel’s leadership is in daily contact with the White House, and “I give the U.S. media interviews almost every day to persuade the American public of the rightness of our path.”

All this and more, he noted, ensures Israel continues to receive the military support it needs from the U.S., and thwarts international initiatives against Israel that would endanger the continuation of the fighting.

Netanyahu added that humanitarian aid to Gaza is crucial to continue the war against Hamas, and says without it there would be less international support for Israel’s military campaign. “Even our best friends would be hard-pressed to maintain their support for us in the long-term and that would make it hard for us to complete the war,” he says.

“The IDF and the Shin Bet recommended that the Cabinet accept the American request to allow two fuel tankers a day to enter the southern Gaza Strip,” he said, and the cabinet backed this unanimously.

“This is a minimal emergency quantity of fuel; fuel to operate water pumps and sewage pumps, without which there would be an eruption of epidemics that would harm residents of the Gaza Strip as well as IDF soldiers.”

A U.S. State Department official said Israel had committed to allowing in 120,000 liters (31,700 gallons) of fuel every 48 hours for UNRWA’s trucks and other needs like desalinization of water, sewage pumping, bakeries and hospitals in the south of Gaza.

An additional 20,000 liters (5,280 gallons) every two days would be allowed in to power generators of telecoms company Paltel, which had warned of an imminent blackout of its cellphone network due to lack of fuel.

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