Photo Credit: GPO / YouTube screengrab
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Israeli journalists at his office in Jerusalem on Feb. 7, 2024

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doubled down on his assertion that only a “total victory” over Hamas in Gaza will prevent the reoccurrence of another Oct. 7 and said in a briefing Wednesday night that he is certain the IDF will achieve that goal “within months, not years.”

“There is agreement on two principles: the destruction of Hamas and the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said. “First of all, we must eliminate Hamas, and then ensure demobilization. The claim that ‘you must collapse the civilian government before you collapse the military government’ is not valid, because if you collapse the military government, you will also collapse the civilian government.” If the military government remains, he said, the terror group will again control Gaza.


The prime minister said that he and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “held a long and in-depth meeting in private” earlier in the day at his office in Jerusalem. An extended meeting followed with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi, Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar, Mosssad director Dedi Barnea, IDF Chief of Staff Brigadier General Herzi Halevi and other senior officials.

Blinken had hoped for a separate “four-eyes-only” meeting with Halevi, but his request to meet alone with the IDF chief of staff was vetoed, and the meeting was canceled.

Netanyahu said that he viewed the US sanctions imposed on four Israeli residents of Samaria — which led to Israeli banks freezing their accounts — “very seriously”, adding that he had “said as much to the Secretary of State, plainly,” during their private meeting.

The prime minister also said that he informed Blinken that he has ordered the replacement of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). At least a dozen employees of the UN agency in Gaza are accused of participating in the October 7 invasion of Israel and the Hamas-led terrorists’ torture and massacre of more than 1,200 people, along with the abduction of 253 others.

Responding to a question about whether Israel had said “no” to the demands of Hamas for a hostage release deal, Netanyahu replied in the affirmative and said, “If you had seen Hamas’ conditions you too would have said ‘no.'”

Netanyahu said the issue of releasing terrorists with Israeli blood on their hands is not even relevant at this point: “Surrendering to the delusional demands of Hamas will not only not lead to the release of the hostages, but will invite another massacre and a heavy disaster for the State of Israel.

“The day after the war is the day after Hamas. Not part of Hamas and not half of Hamas.”


Previous article‘The Green Prince’ Mosab Hassan Yousef Joins Israel’s National Public Diplomacy Effort
Next articleThe Judaism, Zionism, And Jewish Art Of Jozef Israëls
Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.