Tel Aviv: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning to Iran and its proxy Hezbollah not to ‘test us’ in the North, as Israel continued its relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in response to Hamas’ rocket attacks. Netanyahu said in a speech in the Israeli Parliament ‘Knesset’ on Monday that the world needs to unite to defeat Hamas, which he called a genocidal terrorist organization. He said, “This war is your war too.”
Netanyahu addressed the opening session of the winter session of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which began on October 7 when the Palestinian militant group launched a surprise assault on Israel, firing hundreds of rockets at civilian targets. Israel retaliated with a massive bombardment of Gaza, targeting Hamas’ infrastructure, weapons, and leaders.
Netanyahu said Israel’s war against Hamas was a fight for survival against the forces of darkness that seek to destroy the Jewish state and its values. “Even after 75 years, the war of independence is not over,” he said, referring to Israel’s founding in 1948. He compared Hamas to Nazi Germany and called the conflict “a war between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, between humanity and bestiality.”
Netanyahu called for world unity against Hamas and urged the international community to support Israel’s right to self-defense. He said, “Our war is your war. If we are not completely united, this will happen to you tomorrow.” He warned that Hamas was backed by Iran, which he accused of pursuing nuclear weapons and sponsoring terrorism across the region.
Netanyahu reiterated that “victory over Hamas, uprooting it from its rule is our goal.” He said Israel would not stop until it restored security and deterrence for its citizens. He also vowed to bring back the Israeli hostages who are being held by Hamas in Gaza.
According to the Israeli military, more than 1300 Israelis have been killed and around 4000 have been injured by Hamas’ rockets, which have reached as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Iron Dome missile defense system has intercepted about 90% of the incoming projectiles.
On the other hand, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry based in the Hamas-controlled area, deaths in Gaza have increased to 2,670, while more than 9,600 have been injured. The ministry said that in the last 24 hours, 455 people were reported dead and 856 people were injured in Gaza. The UN has warned of a humanitarian crisis in the densely populated enclave, where many people lack access to water, electricity, and medical care.
The conflict has also sparked violence along the Israel-Lebanon border and in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli forces. Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group that the U.S. also designates as a terrorist organization, has voiced strong support for Hamas, as has Iran. The Lebanese militant group has repeatedly exchanged fire with Israel since the start of the war, raising concerns that the conflict could become regional instead of isolated to Israel and Gaza.