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Netanyahu and Gallant individually vow: 'Hamas will pay ‘a heavy price’

Despite separate press briefings, the two war cabinet members speak with a united voice

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference, Dec. 2, 2023 (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant gave press briefings on Saturday evening.

However, in contrast to previous briefings where the two leaders have appeared together, this time they conducted separate briefings. 

Despite the separate appearances, their messages were consistent: Israel would persist in its current military strategy until it achieves its goals, and Hamas would pay “a heavy price.” 

Gallant directly accused the Hamas terror organization of breaking the ceasefire agreement by refusing “to release 17 women and children held hostage in Gaza.” 

The “IDF has returned to fighting at full force – we are carrying on, exactly where we left off,” Gallant affirmed.

He highlighted the IDF's goals in its current operations in Gaza: “Defeating Hamas, destroying its governing and military capabilities,” and “returning the hostages to their homes.” 

“As long as Hamas refuses to comply with what has been established, we will continue to operate, we will continue to take [military] action until we achieve the goals we have set for ourselves,” Gallant added.

The defense minister also told the Israeli public they can trust Israel Defense Forces, the ISA (Shin Bet) security agency, Mossad Internal Intelligence and the Israel Police to protect its citizens.

“My message to the citizens of Israel is: You have someone to be proud of, you have someone to trust. The IDF and all the security agencies are the defensive shields that ensure our lives in the State of Israel,” Gallant stated. 

Netanyahu began his speech with a quote from the Talmud: “Whoever saves one life, it is as if he has saved the entire world.” 

“Last week we rescued many worlds,” Netanyahu said. "We returned 110 souls to Israel. We freed 86 Israeli citizens – children, women, young people, mothers and grandmothers, as well as dozens of foreign nationals. The entire nation and many around the world held their breath as they followed each release.” 

The premier also quoted Psalm 142:8: “'Take my soul out of confinement.' We have taken them out of confinement, from darkness to light, from slavery to redemption.” 

Netanyahu told the nation that despite Israel’s resumption of military operations against Hamas, he was pleased with the ongoing efforts to “rescue dozens of hostages from Satan's claws,” saying that the combination of military pressure with negotiations helped to achieve the release of the hostages. 

Israel “will continue the war until we achieve all of its goals and it is impossible to achieve these goals without continuing the ground incursion,” he added.

Like Gallant, the prime minister said that Israelis could trust their security agencies. 

“Citizens of Israel, I tell you this evening that you have those whom you can rely on. The fighting men and women of the IDF, the ISA, the policemen and women who have fought with utmost heroism – they are the best. They have great spirit, strength and faith.” 

The premier expressed confidence that, although the war is difficult, Israel will emerge victorious.  

“Citizens of Israel, we are in the midst of a difficult and bitter war but there is no war more just."

"It is a war for our home. All of us are united behind the justice of our cause and all of us give full backing to our soldiers. A difficult war is yet before us, but in the end, we will be victorious."

Together we will fight – and with G-d's help, together we will win.”  

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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