Israel Prepared for ‘Absolute Victory over Hamas’ after Pause Collapses

Israeli PM Netanyahu makes it clear Israel’s goals in Gaza are not met yet. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO).

After Hamas actions led to the collapse of negotiations to extend a temporary truce with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear on Saturday night that the goal to “eliminate Hamas” has not changed. The pause in fighting had accompanied Hamas releasing dozens of women and children hostages, with Israel also releasing Palestinians who had been arrested for terrorism. On Friday, the war resumed—and so did Israel’s mission.

“In order to ensure that Gaza does not go back to constituting a threat to Israel… we are continuing to fight with full force,” said Netanyahu in comments published by his office. “Our soldiers prepared for this during the pause—for absolute victory over Hamas.”

“I met in the field with our fighting men and women who told me: ‘Mr. Prime Minister, continue until the end’ and I told them: ‘To the end—of that there is no question.’”

The fighting had ceased for a week as Hamas released more than 100 hostages, including 24 foreign nationals. However, efforts to extend the pause were foiled by Hamas actions. “The terrorist organization Hamas did not uphold its part of the agreement, which included the release of all of the children and women according to a list that was given to Hamas and approved by it,” said a statement from Netanyahu’s office on Saturday. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant clarified in a separate press release that Hamas had refused to set free 17 women and children, while the IDF feed on X (formerly Twitter) reported that Hamas violated the ceasefire by firing at Israeli territory.

Netanyahu said that in the first 24 hours after fighting resumed, Israel destroyed more than 400 Hamas targets. While “extensive” air strikes continue to be part of Israel’s battle plan, Netanyahu also made it clear that ground forces in Gaza are necessary. “There is no way of achieving these goals except by victory, and there is no way to achieve victory except by continuing the ground incursion,” said Netanyahu. “The IDF and the security forces are doing this with determination, strength and while upholding international law.”

So far, the results of Israel’s Gaza campaign—launched after Hamas murdered 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, and kidnapped more than 200 in a surprise terror assault—have resulted in “great” military achievements according to Gallant. “Thousands of terrorists have been eliminated, we have struck dozens of headquarters, hundreds of terabytes of information have been transferred to us, hundreds of terrorists have been apprehended and are being interrogated in Israel, and much more,” said Gallant on Saturday in comments released by Israel.

A separate IDF post on X also noted that Israel had destroyed 500 of more than 800 exposed tunnel shafts identified by Israel. The post noted that Hamas tunnels are “located near or inside kindergartens, schools, playgrounds and mosques. To be clear, these places aren’t childproof, but rather teeming with terrorism. Every tunnel shaft and weapon we find is further proof of how Hamas deliberately uses the residents of Gaza for their terrorist agenda against Israelis.”

In addition, the hostage release itself was a significant achievement for the Israeli military campaign, according to Gallant. “The release of 110 live hostages has not been achieved by any other military anywhere in the world against any other terrorist organization—not against Al Qaeda, not against ISIS, not against Boko Haram—we achieved this against Hamas as a result of the IDF’s power and precision, together with the [Israel Security Agency] and other security organizations.”

Now, the battle over the Gaza Strip has resumed. The IDF has “returned to fighting at full force—we are carrying on, exactly where we left off,” said Gallant. “We are keeping our eyes on the goals of this war: defeating Hamas, destroying its governing and military capabilities—not allowing Hamas to continue its rule over Gaza, 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.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, December 3, 2023)

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