October 9, 2023 | Flash Brief

Netanyahu Outlines Five Goals of Counterattack on Hamas

October 9, 2023 | Flash Brief

Netanyahu Outlines Five Goals of Counterattack on Hamas

Latest Developments

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on October 9 to step up Israel’s retaliation for the Hamas terrorist rampage from the Gaza Strip and outlined four other strategic goals. Two and a half days after the still-ongoing armed Palestinian incursions began, and with Israeli forces conducting mopping-up operations against Palestinian terrorists and striking Hamas targets in Gaza from the air, Netanyahu delivered a televised address. He noted that Hamas has used atrocious tactics similar to ISIS and said it would meet the same fate — defeat — but by Israel: “This depraved enemy wanted war, and war it shall get.”

Expert Analysis

“Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech is a clear indication that the gloves are off in the Israeli military response to Hamas’ horrific attack on Israeli civilians. While Israel has fought Hamas in the past with one hand tied behind its back, imposing limitations on military targets and trying to minimize civilian casualties, the Israeli mission to destroy Hamas will require it to do more to target and kill Hamas terrorists and destroy Hamas weapons. The prime minister compared the murders, torture, and kidnapping of Israeli women, children, and elderly, including Holocaust survivors, by Hamas to the horrors of ISIS. The United States and its allies responded to the atrocities of ISIS with overwhelming military force. The challenge for Israel will be to preserve international support for the legitimacy of its military actions as it tries to eliminate the Palestinian ISIS.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Netanyahu’s aspirations are grand, necessitating widespread global backing so that Israel can dismantle Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza. The one major impediment Israel has routinely faced in prior conflicts is time. Hamas is likely banking on the prospect that the international community will not provide Israel with the required time to bring down the organization, thus ensuring the group’s survival against a significant Israeli offensive.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

The Five Goals

The first goal, he said, was to complete the retaking of Israeli border communities that had been overrun by terrorists when their incursions began on October 7 and to eliminate terrorists still at large. The second goal, he said, is to then shift to an unprecedented, escalated offensive against Hamas — presumably in its Gaza stronghold, though Netanyahu’s lack of specificity left open the possibility that the Iranian-backed terrorists could be struck elsewhere too.

The third goal, Netanyahu said, was to secure Israel’s other hostile fronts. He cited the Lebanese border — where Israel repelled an armed infiltration on October 9 — as well as the West Bank and the Israeli interior. Netanyahu’s statement was an implicit warning to Israel’s Arab minority not to join the fighting against the state. The fourth goal, Netanyahu said, would be to preserve and expand international support for Israel and thus grant it maximum freedom of action as it carries out the war.

In what he described as his last and most important goal, Netanyahu said solidarity within Israel must be bolstered. “Our polarization is over,” he said, in an allusion to months of political infighting over his proposed judicial reforms. “And when we are united, we win.”

Iran-Backed Terror on Northern Border Threatens to Open New Front,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Takes the Fight to Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief

Attacks on Israel Part of Iran’s Ring of Fire Strategy,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran Exports Crimes Against Humanity to Israel,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Jihadism Lebanon Military and Political Power The Long War