This is the first time since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 that the Prime Minister has received questions from the press.
– We are in the second phase of the war, Netanyahu said during the press conference on Saturday.
Netanyahu asked civilians in Gaza to move to safe areas.
The war in the Gaza Strip will be long and difficult.
– This is our second war for independence. We must save our country. We will fight in the air and on the ground. We will fight, and we will win. This is my life’s mission.
A total of 7,703 people have been killed in Gaza so far during the war, according to a statement issued by Hamas-controlled health authorities on Saturday.
More than 200 hostages
Hamas is said to have taken more than 200 hostages in connection with the October 7 attack. The families of the abductees expressed their concern, following the escalation of attacks against Gaza over the weekend.
On Saturday evening, a number of people gathered in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. They protested to return the kidnapped people to their homes. Many demanded a ceasefire now.
Netanyahu was asked about the tension between crushing Hamas and recovering the kidnapped people.
– There is no tension between the two. We have two goals. The first is to crush Hamas practically and militarily. The second is to return the kidnapped person home.
On Saturday, the Prime Minister met with the families of some of the kidnapped people.
Former Defense Minister Benny Gantz said during the press conference:
– The ground operation, along with other steps, could make progress on the abductees.
Hamas spokesman Abu Ubaida said Saturday afternoon that Hamas would not agree to release all the hostages it is holding unless Israel releases all Palestinian prisoners.
The attack by Hamas on October 7 put Israel to sleep. More than 1,400 people were killed, many of them civilians.
– It was a miserable failure. It is being investigated. We will turn over every stone, Netanyahu replied when asked if he was responsible for the attacks.
Iran was a supporter of Hamas. They denied that they helped plan the attack.
We cannot say that Iran was involved in planning the October 7 attack, but about 90 percent of Hamas’ budget comes from Iran, Netanyahu said during the press conference.
On Friday evening, Israel intensified its attacks on the Gaza Strip.
In recent days, several countries have criticized the harsh attacks on Gaza.
– Netanyahu said that those who accuse us of committing war crimes are hypocrites.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Saturday that Israel has the right to defend itself. but:
– When this happens in the form of massive bombing of entire neighborhoods in Gaza, this is so far removed from the basic principles on which war should be waged, that we think you are exaggerating it.
He requests a meeting
It is difficult to get information from Gaza, because the Internet is down after air strikes. Human rights organizations cannot reach their staff on the ground. They fear that the lack of internet and phone connectivity will result in the horrific events being unknown.
The United Arab Emirates requested a new meeting on Gaza at the UN Security Council on Saturday, Reuters reported. They are demanding that this be done as quickly as possible now that Israel has expanded its ground operations in Gaza and internet and phone access in Gaza has been cut off.
The European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, calls for a “cessation of hostilities” to provide emergency aid.
– Gaza is completely isolated and cut off as heavy bombing continues, Borrell says on social media on Saturday.
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