March 17, 2024 | Flash Brief

Netanyahu: Halting Gaza War Means Losing It

March 17, 2024 | Flash Brief

Netanyahu: Halting Gaza War Means Losing It

Latest Developments

Halting the Gaza war now would be tantamount to losing it, Israel’s government said on March 17. In a televised statement during his weekly cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against mounting foreign calls for a ceasefire, which would potentially spare the fall of Hamas’s last bastion in Rafah. Netanyahu’s comments come as the Palestinian terrorist group demands that any such deal include a total withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.

“Then let it be clear: If we stop the war now, before all of its goals are achieved, this means that Israel will have lost the war, and this we will not allow. Therefore, we cannot, and will not, succumb to this pressure,” Netanyahu said. He continued, “No international pressure will stop us from realizing all of the goals of the war: Eliminating Hamas, freeing all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to Israel.”

According to the prime minister’s office, Israel will operate in Rafah, while implementing measures to relocate displaced Palestinians civilians who have congregated there. “This will take several weeks, and it will happen,” Netanyahu said. Netanyahu’s security cabinet was due to separately discuss a proposal to send an Israeli delegation, headed by Mossad Director David Barnea, to Doha on March 18 for renewed hostage talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt.

Expert Analysis

“If anything, the Israeli prime minister was too circumspect in his rejection of those arguing for ‘ceasefire’ that would, in fact, be an open-ended cessation of hostilities. Such calls are little short of a ‘Hail Mary’ for Hamas. Historians will long puzzle over the fact that some Western leaders, while rightly condemning a genocidal terrorist group, seem to have major misgivings about its imminent annihilation.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Hamas’s control of Rafah helps to guarantee its survival as a terrorist threat because it can control access to humanitarian aid and is able to hide amongst the civilian population in southern Gaza. It is essential that Israel be supported in its operations against the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions that currently are based in Rafah, near the Egyptian border. Hamas cynically exploits Rafah’s position to try to cling to power in Gaza and rebuild its terrorist infrastructure.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

Israel Eyes Rafah Offensive, New Hostage Talks,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Kills Senior Hamas Terrorist in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas stronghold in Gaza’s Rafah is key to its survival – analysis,” by Seth J. Frantzman


Arab Politics Egypt Gulf States Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics