Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stark warning to the residents of Gaza in an address to Israelis late Saturday night: “Leave now.” The prime minister also cautioned Israelis that “this war will take time” but promised “with the help of God … we will win.”
The remarks came on an evening in which the Security Cabinet meeting reached operational decisions that included one to immediately cease the supply of electricity, fuel and goods to the enclave following the start of a war against Israel by Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.
Israel’s government and the IDF have named the war “Iron Swords.”
Here’s the full text of the prime minister’s address to the nation:
“Dear citizens of Israel,
This morning, on Shabbat and a holiday, Hamas invaded Israeli territory and murdered innocent citizens including children and the elderly. Hamas has started a brutal and evil war.
We will be victorious in this war despite an unbearable price. This is a very difficult day for all of us.
Hamas wants to murder us all. This is an enemy that murders children and mothers in their homes, in their beds, an enemy that abducts the elderly, children and young women, that slaughters and massacres our citizens, including children, who simply went out to enjoy the holiday.
What happened today is unprecedented in Israel – and I will see to it that it does not happen again. The entire government is behind this decision.
The IDF will immediately use all its strength to destroy Hamas’s capabilities. We will destroy them, and we will forcefully avenge this dark day that they have forced on the State of Israel and its citizens. As Bialik wrote: ‘Revenge for the blood of a little child has yet been devised by Satan’.
All of the places in which Hamas is deployed, hiding and operating, that wicked city, we will turn them into rubble.
I say to the residents of Gaza: Leave now because we will operate forcefully everywhere.
At this hour, the IDF is clearing the terrorists out of the last communities. They are going community by community, house by house, and are restoring our control.
I embrace and send heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families whose loved ones were murdered today in cold blood and endless brutality.
We are all praying for the well-being of the wounded and all those who are being held hostage. I say to Hamas: You are responsible for their well-being. Israel will settle accounts with anyone who harms one hair on their heads.
I appeal to the residents of the south: We all stand alongside you. We are all proud of your heroism and your fighting.
To our beloved IDF soldiers, police officers and security forces personnel, remember that you are the continuation of the heroes of the Jewish people, of Joshua, Judah Maccabee, and the heroes of 1948 and of all of Israel’s wars. You are now fighting for the home and future of us all. We are all with you. We all love you. We all salute you.
To the medical and rescue teams, and the many volunteers who came out in force today in a long list of places, the people of Israel salute you. With your spirit, we will overcome our enemies.
Today, I spoke with US President Biden and with other world leaders in order to ensure freedom of action for Israel in the continuation of the campaign. I thank President Biden for his strong and clear words.
I thank the President of France, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and many other leaders for their unreserved support for Israel.
I now appeal to all citizens of Israel.
We stand together in this campaign.
This war will take time. It will be difficult. Challenging days are ahead of us. However, I can promise one thing: With the help of G-d, the forces that we all have in common and our faith in the Eternal One of Israel, we will win.”
Netanyahu’s remarks at the opening of the Security Cabinet meeting were shorter.
Here’s the text of those remarks:
“”We are embarking on a long and difficult war that was forced on us by a murderous Hamas attack.
The first stage is ending at this time by the destruction of the vast majority of the enemy forces that infiltrated our territory. At the same time, we have begun the offensive phase, which will continue with neither limitations nor respite until the objectives are achieved.
We will restore security to the citizens of Israel and we will win.”