Israel Warns They Will Be Fighting in Gaza All Year: ‘That’s For Sure’

Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant with the families of soldiers held hostage by Hamas. Photo courtesy of Ariel Hermoni (Israeli MoD).

Three months after the October 7 terror massacre of Israelis by Hamas, there is no end in sight to the conflict in Gaza—with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi warning the fighting will last all year, even if the formal war ends sooner. “The year 2024 will be challenging,” said Halevi on Sunday in comments published on the IDF Hebrew website and translated by Google. “We will be at war in Gaza, I don’t know if all year, we will be fighting in Gaza all year, that’s for sure.”

Halevi’s distinction of official war in Gaza and ongoing fighting underlines the challenge facing Israel. They not only are working to defeat Hamas, but they then must maintain security after the war ends, which will take even longer. In any event, Israeli leaders continue to emphasize they will not end the war prematurely.

“The war must not be stopped until we achieve all of its goals: Eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza will never again constitute a threat to Israel. I say this to both our enemies and our friends. This is our responsibility and it is the responsibility of all of us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Sunday’s Cabinet meeting per an Israeli press release.

“Every other consideration must be set aside, and we must continue until total victory. This victory will be achieved only when we complete our goals and when we restore security to residents of the north and south alike.”

That message was echoed by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who was quoted in another press release as telling the families of soldiers held hostage by Hamas that “military activities in Gaza will not end until the hostages return home.”

Netanyahu said this determination is shared by the soldiers as well. “Our commanders and soldiers, conscripts and reservists, in the north and the south, repeat one thing: ‘We are not coming back—until we carry out [the mission]’ and I say: ‘We are not stopping—until victory.’”

Even as Israel battles to secure Gaza, the fight in the north against Lebanon’s Hezbollah looms as a potential full-scale second front in Israel’s war with Iranian terror allies. Netanyahu continued his strong rhetoric against the Lebanese terror group on Sunday, as Israel continues to exchange fire with Hezbollah in a conflict currently kept at a low boil.

“I suggest that Hezbollah learn what Hamas has already learned in recent months: No terrorist is immune,” said Netanyahu. “We are determined to defend our citizens and to return the residents of the north safely to their homes. This is a national goal that we all share and which we are all working to achieve responsibly. If we can, we will do so diplomatically, and if not, we will work in other ways.”

Halevi, in his comments on Sunday, noted Israel is continuing to hit Hezbollah—“charging him ever-increasing prices” for continuing to fight Israel. “We have a responsibility, an obligation, to return the residents of the north safely,” he was quoted on the IDF website as saying. “…This will come either by the fact that the pressure we are exerting now is increasing and will do the job and create a completely different reality, or we will end up with another war.”

Halevi’s warning about even more fighting in the north comes as he noted the war to defend Israel after the horrors of October 7 isn’t close to being finished. Said Halevi, “To reach the goals of the war we still have a long way to go, so this thing will take time.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 7, 2024)

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