After long hours of debate, the meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political and security cabinet early Sunday morning approved the decision to provide diesel to the Gaza Strip. Also: any future decision on the fuel issue will have to go through the political and security cabinet (and not the much smaller war cabinet – DI). The cabinet also declared that a future decision on the matter must include the issue of the Israeli hostages in Gaza.
Ministers Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionism) and Itamar Ben Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) opposed the decision.
PM Netanyahu said at a press conference Saturday night: “When the IDF and the ISA recommended together that the Cabinet accede to the American request to allow the limited entry of two fuel trucks a day to the southern Gaza Strip, the War Cabinet unanimously agreed. This is a minimal emergency quantity of fuel to operate water and sewage pumps without which we could expect the immediate outbreak of disease. It must be understood: The outbreak of disease would harm both the residents of the Strip and the IDF soldiers in the Strip.
“I want to emphasize: This is not a change of policy but a limited, localized response in order to prevent the outbreak of epidemics. These are some of the things that my colleagues and I are doing to ensure the continued diplomatic maneuvering room for the State of Israel, which we need to achieve the goals of the war,” he added.
Netanyahu then declared: “Even if the pressure increases, I will not stop from adhering to the three tasks that I have set and which all of must adhere to. The first task: To achieve absolute victory, to destroy Hamas. The people, the Government and the fighting forces show that we have the will, the capability and the unity to achieve this goal. The second task: To bring back the hostages. We will not relent in this sacred task. It guides us always. And the third task: To ensure that after victory, Gaza will never again threaten the citizens of Israel.”
The PM was speaking while thousands of Israelis were demonstrating in Jerusalem, demanding that he make returning the hostages his first priority. Well, he did not. His first declared priority is winning the war. Freeing the hostages comes second.
Thank God, Israel has a sane leader at the helm. Let’s just see if he now succumbs to pressure and declare a five-day ceasefire which can mean the end of this war on evil (Washington Post: US Near Deal to Free ‘Some’ Hostages Contingent on 5-Day Ceasefire).
Netanyahu concluded: Citizens of Israel, we are continuing to the end – until victory. We will defeat Hamas, we will bring back our hostages, we will restore security to the residents of both the south and the north. We will rebuild the cities, communities and kibbutzim. As the Prophet Ezekiel says (36:33): ‘I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be built.’ Together we will fight and together – with God’s help – we will win.”