Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that victory over Hamas in Gaza is ‘within reach.’
Netanyahu made the statement during an appearance on ‘Fox News Sunday’ with host Shannon Bream. He said Israeli forces have beaten Hamas back to its final stronghold in Gaza and argued the campaign must continue to deliver the final blow.
‘Victory is within reach,’ Netanyahu said. ‘We have already destroyed three-quarters of Hamas’ organized terrorist battalions. Three-quarters, 18 out of 24 – we’re not going to leave the other six. That would be like you leaving a quarter of ISIS in Iraq in place and you say, ‘Well they can have their little territory. It’s OK.”
‘Obviously, ISIS would re-establish itself. Hamas-ISIS would re-establish itself, too, if we don’t finish its last remaining bastion,’ he added.
Bream asked Netanyahu about recent comments from President Biden that appeared to criticize Israeli operations in Gaza. Biden said on Thursday that ‘the conduct of the response in the Gaza Strip has been over the top.’
Netanyahu told Bream that he was not sure what Biden meant by the statement and added he has not spoken with Biden since he made the comment.
He went on to list the various efforts Israeli forces are making to minimize the loss of civilian life in Gaza.
Fighting in Gaza remains fiercest in the southern city of Khan Younis, where Hamas’ top leaders are believed to be holed up in a network of tunnels.
Netanyahu has said Israeli forces will remain in Gaza for an extended period following the war, another friction point for the Biden administration. Biden has argued that occupying Gaza after the war would be a ‘mistake’ and has urged Netanyahu to work out a two-state solution.
‘The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own and a future free from Hamas,’ Biden wrote in a November 2023 opinion piece in the Washington Post.
Critics argue a two-state solution is currently unrealistic. Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman says Palestinians ‘are not willing’ to accept a Jewish state, and added that any Palestinian state would be extremely likely to become a terror state.
‘I do not think a two-state solution is possible, and, even if possible, it is not advisable. For more than 50 years, hundreds of self-proclaimed ‘peacemakers,’ led by the United States, have attempted to coerce Israel and the Palestinians into a two-state solution,’ he said. ‘The efforts repeatedly fail regardless of who’s in charge.’