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Netanyahu at Memorial Day ceremony: Israel is 'determined to win this fight'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers an address to the State Ceremony for Victims of Terrorism in Israel and Abroad, May 13, 2024 (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized on Monday that the Jewish state is fighting for its “existence, liberty, security and prosperity” in the ongoing war with the Iranian-backed terror proxies, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"It's us or them – Israel or the monsters of Hamas,” Netanyahu said during his speech at the annual Memorial Day military ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

The prime minister wanted that if Israel fails to eliminate the existential threat on its borders, it could face more Oct. 7-style terror attacks, including “torture, massacre, rape and slavery.” 

However, Netanyahu affirmed Israel is “determined to win this fight, and said, "We are exacting and will continue to exact a heavy price from the enemy for their criminal actions.”

“God willing, will ensure our existence and our future. But the price we are paying and that generations before us paid is heavy.”

Placing the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in a historical context, Netanyahu argued that all Israelis who “fell in battle – and every battle in Israel is a battle for our survival – represent eternal values: love of humankind and our nation, love of country, a willingness to make sacrifices, faith in the justice of our cause.”

Under the leadership of Hamas’ elite Nukhba Force, about 3,000 Palestinian terrorists invaded southern Israel on Oct.7, killing at least 1,200 Israelis and kidnapping over 250 hostages into Gaza. About 130 hostages remain in captivity in the Gaza Strip but at least 30 of them are believed to be no longer alive. according to Israel Defense Forces.

“We have not forgotten the hostages, even for a moment,” Netanyahu said during his speech. “We are constantly working to bring everyone back.”

“We have already returned about half of them, and we will return them all," he pledged.

However, Netanyahu's critics, including families of the hostages have accused the prime minister and the Israeli government of not doing enough to secure the release of the remaining hostages.

“We will not stop until we topple the terror regime of Hamas,” Netanyahu vowed.

Prior to Oct. 7, Netanyahu cultivated an image among Israelis as “Mr. Security.” However, polls suggest that most Israelis no longer trust his ability to protect them against various threats. A whopping 70% of Israelis reportedly want Netanyahu to resign, according to polls published in April.

The Israeli military is believed to have degraded the majority of Hamas’ battalions since Oct. 7. The bulk of its remaining forces are reportedly concentrated in the area of Rafah, in southern Gaza close to the Egyptian border. Israel has therefore vowed to capture Rafah and eliminate the remaining Hamas forces.

However, the United States and other governments oppose a large-scale Israeli military Rafah operation as they believe it will threaten over one million Gazan civilians concentrated in the area.

The Biden administration has attempted to downplay the significance of neutralizing the remaining Hamas brigades in Rafah.

“Without a plan for the day after the war, Israel will be left holding the bag on an enduring insurgency because a lot of armed Hamas [terrorists] will be left, no matter what they do in Rafah,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently argued during an interview on NBC News.

“We share Israel's objective of making sure that Hamas cannot govern Gaza anymore, that it be demilitarized, that Israel get its leaders,” Blinken stated.

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

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