Israeli PM Netanyahu: Israel “United” Behind Me, and Won’t Give In to “Crazy” Demands

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted his country is “united” when it comes to fighting Hamas and that he won’t give in to the “crazy demands” made by enemies of the country in continuing hostage negotiations.

“We want to liberate the remaining hostages,” said Netanyahu to Margaret Brennan of CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We’ve already brought half of them back, and I appreciate the effort, the combined effort of Israel and the United States, to bring back the remaining hostages.”

However, he still cannot confirm if the deal will happen, but “if Hamas goes down from its delusional claims and can bring them down to earth, then we’ll have the progress that we all want.”

President Joe Biden has claimed the hostage deal underway might bring at least six weeks of calm to Gaza and Israel. It would reportedly allow the exchange of a few hundred Palestinian prisoners for the release of 30 to 40 hostages, according to Brennan. Still, Netanyahu said it makes no sense to discuss the deal publicly.

“Hamas started with just crazy demands,” Netanyahu said. “It’s too soon to say if they’ve abandoned them, but if they do abandon them and get into what you call the ballpark, they’re not even in the city. They’re on another planet. But if they come down to a reasonable situation, we’ll have a hostage deal. I hope so.”

There were massive protests all over Israel this weekend, but PM Netanyahu insisted the people are “united as never before.”

“Last week, they voted 99 top 9 in the Knesset for my proposal that says that we have to do two things: We have to win the war, have total victory, but also now have an international dictate of a Palestinian state on it shoved down our throats that would endanger Israel,” said Netanyahu. “People are overwhelmingly united on this. When was the last time we had 99 votes in the Knesset… I’ll tell you, 30 years ago.”

Netanyahu: “We can’t compromise with total victory”

Netanyahu also insisted that “we can’t compromise with total victory, because I’ll tell you, we can’t win the peach if we don’t win the war, and we will win this war.”

In the meantime, the prime minister said the return of live hostages was necessary for him to declare victory.

“I’ve set three war goals,” said the prime minister. “The first is to release the hostages. The second is to destroy Hamas. And the third is to ensure that Gaza does not pose a threat to Israel in the future. And obviously, the three are intertwined.”

Netanyahu said that victory is “within reach” but won’t happen until the elimination of Hamas — which means Israel must start its Rafah operation.

Once that begins, “the intense phase of the fighting is weeks away from completion, not months,” said PM Netanyahu. “We’ve already destroyed 18 of the 24 Hamas terrorist battalions, and four of them are concentrated in Rafah. We can’t leave the last Hamas stronghold without taking care of it.”

The prime minister added he had ordered the army to submit a plan to destroy the remaining Hamas battalions and evacuate Palestinian civilians.

“If we have a deal, it’ll be delayed somewhat, but it’ll happen,” he said. “If we don’t have a deal, we’ll do it anyway. It has to be done.”