Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his nation on Friday evening that he had refused the Biden administration’s request for a “pause” in fighting, ostensibly for humanitarian purposes.
Netanyahu recounted that he had met earlier in the day with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and showed him footage of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. (Breitbart News was among the first to review that footage last week in Israel.)
He also said: “I appreciate the consistent support of President Biden, the American administration and the American people.”
He then continued: “I conveyed to him that we are continuing with all our might. Israel refuses a temporary ceasefire that does not include the liberation of our hostages. Israel will not allow fuel into the Gaza Strip, and opposes the transfer of money into the Strip.”
President Joe Biden and the White House have called for a “pause” in fighting, supposedly to allow for humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip and to allow space for Hamas to free some of the 241 hostages it is believed to hold.
However, humanitarian aid continues to enter Gaza from the South, evan as fighting rages in the north, and Hamas has not promised to release hostages if the fighting pauses. Its only offer is to release hostages in exchange for all of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails — including those who carried out the October 7 atrocities.
Biden’s “pause” is likely intended for domestic consumption, as he strives to keep Arab- and Muslim-American voters from bolting in the key swing state of Michigan.
The term “pause” in this context translates poorly into Hebrew, and resembles the word “ceasefire.” Israel had reached a series of ceasefire agreements with Hamas, all of which allowed Hamas to continue to govern Gaza, and all of which Hamas later broke.
A ceasefire would be a huge victory for Hamas — which is why the Biden administration has resisted calls for a ceasefire. In asking for a “pause,” Biden is trying to have it both ways — a lull in the fighting, without formally surrendering to Hamas. However, even a pause in fighting would create diplomatic pressure on Israel not to start again, and would allow Hamas terrorists to regroup.
Netanyahu reminded Israelis that the goal of Hamas was to destroy the State of Israel, and said that he would never allow it; rather, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would fight until Hamas was destroyed. He warned Israel’s enemies to the north — Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon — that they would pay a heavy price if they intervened in the war.
Netanyahu also paid tribute to the Israeli soldiers who had fallen thus far in battle — including Lt. Col. Salman Habaka, a Druze Arab who helped rescue Kibbutz Be’eri from Hamas terrorists on October 7, and who had recalled before he died that the sound of the tanks arriving at the kibbutz, and firing their guns, had given residents a moment of security and hope.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.