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Netanyahu meets families of deceased hostages, pledges to eliminate Hamas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks at posters of hostages held captive in Gaza, November 14, 2023. (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on Thursday met with the families of hostages who have been notified their loved ones are deceased. Netanyahu vowed that IDF troops will not leave Gaza until the Hamas terrorist organization is removed from Gaza and all 120 remaining hostages are returned to their families.

“We are committed to returning everyone, all 120 hostages – living and deceased. Even if this is in stages, we will not give up on anyone,” Netanyahu told the families.

“When we are in Gaza, the pressure changes; our activity creates opportunities to return the hostages. We will not leave the Gaza Strip until all of the hostages return, and we will not leave until we eliminate Hamas’s military and governing capabilities.”

The prime minister was accompanied by IDF Brig.-Gen. (res) Gal Hirsch, Israel's coordinator for the Hostages and the Missing; Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Roman Gofman; and Yaron Cohen, the director of the Hostages, Missing Persons and Returnees Division.

During the meeting, Netanyahu emphasized, “We do not have the option of giving up – we do not have the option of giving up on victory. This is my position. Whoever opposes it should do so openly.”

On Thursday, Netanyahu and his wife also met with recently rescued hostage Shlomi Ziv (40), his wife Miran, his mother Roseta, and his sisters Revital and Adi, at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Jerusalem.

Ziv and three other hostages – Noa Argamani (25) Almog Meir Jan (21), and Andrey Kozlov (27) –  were rescued during Operation Arnon.” on June 8. In the heroic operation, IDF counter-terrorist soldiers and special forces freed the hostages who were being held captive in private homes in Gaza and transported them to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

The Netanyahus expressed their overwhelming delight and relief to Ziv and his family following his rescue.

“We met on the day you were freed. You look great. I must tell you – there is light radiating from your face. I simply enjoy seeing this great joy,” the prime minister said.

“What a joy it is to see you; how we sat and spoke about you. What a joy it is to see your mother. This is simply a dream come true,” Sara remarked. “The story of your rescue operation – I do not think that there is any other army in the world that would have dared and also acted.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara meet with rescued hostage Shlomi Ziv, June 20, 2024 (Photo: Ma'ayan Toaf/GPO)

The two visits come amid weeks of stalled talks between Hamas and Israel regarding the three-phase ceasefire and hostage deal that U.S. President Joe Biden proposed last month, framing it as an Israeli plan.

Hamas accepted the general outline of the proposal but later requested “amendments,” while Netanyahu’s coalition publicly opposed it.

Tensions between the White House and Israel have been high in recent weeks, with the Biden administration allegedly threatening to withhold arms assistance to Israel during the Rafah operation. However, the White House denied these claims.

In a video on Tuesday, Netanyahu said he deeply appreciated the support the United States has given Israel since the start of the war but added, “It’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel. Israel, America’s closest ally, [is] fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies.”

Later on Thursday, Netanyahu posted on 𝕏: "I am ready to suffer personal attacks so long as Israel receives the necessary arms supplies from the U.S."

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

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