Netanyahu: Israel will not agree to a ceasefire ‘at any price’

The Israeli PM said those urging his government to end the fighting were effectively calling for the Jewish state to lose to Hamas


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits soldiers near Gaza (IDF)

(JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Tuesday to not cave to international pressure demanding a ceasefire in the war against Hamas.

"There is considerable pressure on Israel at home and abroad to stop the war before we achieve all of its goals, including a deal at any price to free the hostages," said Netanyahu during a visit to the IDF Sky Rider Unit at the Zikim Base along the border with the Gaza Strip.

"We very much want to achieve another 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," he added.

Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to continue prosecuting the war until Israel achieves all its goals: Eliminating Hamas, releasing all of the hostages and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to Israel.

"There is no pressure, none, that can change this," said the premier.

During the tour, Netanyahu was briefed on the unit's achievements and operated a drone monitoring the skies over Gaza.

In an address to the nation on Saturday, Netanyahu said that those urging his government to end the fighting before launching an operation in Gaza's southernmost city of Rafah were effectively calling for the Jewish state to lose to Hamas.

“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 come after US President Joe Biden on Friday 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.

“There has to be a temporary ceasefire to get the prisoners out—to get the hostages out,” said Biden. “I’m hoping that the Israelis will not make any massive land invasion in the meantime. It’s my expectation that’s not going to happen,” he added.

According to Israel, there are four Hamas battalions positioned in Rafah, along the Egyptian border, the population of which has swelled to some 1.5 million, more than half of Gaza’s total of 2.3 million, after the Israel Defense Forces directed northern Gazans to a humanitarian zone there when fighting began in October.

Netanyahu on Sunday urged the international community to increase pressure on Qatar to bring about the release of the remaining hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza.

The remarks come as American-backed talks through Qatari and Egyptian intermediaries have stalled over Hamas demands. About 100 of the hostages are believed to be still alive in Gaza.

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