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16 Oct, 2023 16:45

Netanyahu warns of long war

The Israeli PM said his forces are ready for an extended fight with Hamas militants
Netanyahu warns of long war

The Israeli military is prepared for a “long war” and will fight until it achieves complete victory over its enemies, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday during a speech at the opening of the winter session of the national parliament.

Netanyahu said that Israel was now fighting for its very existence and expressed confidence that his country would eventually win total victory over Hamas, the Palestinian resistance group that launched a surprise assault on Israeli territories near Gaza last week, killing and wounding hundreds of people.

“This is a time of decisive struggle against those who are trying to destroy us. Our goal is victory, complete victory over Hamas, eliminating once and for all its power and the threat it poses to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

During his speech, the prime minister insisted that Israel was also ready to retaliate against the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group if it attempted to interfere in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I also have a message for Hezbollah: Do not test us in the north, do not repeat the mistake you once made, because now the price you will have to pay will be much higher,” Netanyahu said, adding that both Hezbollah and Hamas were “part of the axis of evil,” which he claimed was being led by Iran.

Netanyahu also said that Hamas was the same as the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and represented a “new version of nazism.” He called on the “entire civilized world” to join Israel in this fight, and suggested that “just like the whole world united to defeat the Nazis and ISIS, it must now unite to defeat Hamas.”

Russia, meanwhile, has warned that the Middle East is currently on the verge of a major conflict and has been urging an immediate ceasefire. While acknowledging Israel’s right to self defense, President Vladimir Putin nevertheless condemned the country’s retaliatory tactics, which he said amounted to a collective punishment of Palestinians.

Putin has stated that the only way to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through negotiations and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. He noted that Moscow was ready to mediate any future talks between the two sides.