Prime Minister Netanyahu: Israel ‘weeks away from victory’ once IDF begins Rafah Operation

February 25, 2024 / JNS — Once the IDF launches its military operation in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, it will be “weeks away from total victory,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS News on Sunday.

Plans for the IDF offensive in Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold in the Gaza Strip, will be reviewed by the political echelon on Sunday, the premier said in an interview with CBS‘s “Face the Nation.”

The potential hostages-for-ceasefire deal under discussion in Doha won’t stop the IDF from operating in the city, Netanyahu added.

“If we have a deal, it will be delayed somewhat, but it [the Battle of Rafah] will happen. If we don’t have a deal, we’ll do it anyway,” he stated.

“We very much want to achieve another [hostage] release and we are prepared to go far, but we are not prepared to pay any price, certainly not the delusional prices that Hamas is demanding of us, the meaning of which is the defeat of the State of Israel,” said Netanyahu last week.

“I speak with world leaders every day. I tell them decisively: Israel will fight until we achieve total victory. And indeed, this includes action in Rafah, of course after we allow the civilians found in the combat zones to evacuate to safe areas,” said Netanyahu.

“Whoever wants to prevent us from operating in Rafah is telling us in effect to lose the war. I will not allow this. … We will not surrender to any pressure. We will not surrender, because we are a people of heroes. We will not surrender because we are a people that desires life. We will not surrender because we must—must—defeat the evil,” he added.

The comments came after U.S. President Joe Biden demanded a temporary ceasefire to secure the release of hostages in Gaza, claiming that a deal “has to” go through before Israel launches a military operation in Rafah.

In a call on Thursday with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Lloyd Austin, the U.S. secretary of defense, raised “the need for a credible plan to ensure the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering in Rafah before any military operations proceed there.”

“We have worked out a detailed plan to do so. And that’s what we have done up to now,” explained Netanyahu. “We are not cavalier about this. This is part of our war effort, to get civilians out of harm’s way. It’s part of Hamas’s effort to keep them in harm’s way. But we’ve so far succeeded and we are going to succeed again.”

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EDITORS NOTE: This Newsrael column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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