Netanyahu presses importance of Rafah invasion to eliminate Hamas: 'No force in the world will stop us'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underscored his military’s commitment to the mission to destroy Hamas just days after ordering the majority of his ground forces to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. 

“We will complete the elimination of Hamas’ battalions, including in Rafah,” Netanyahu said at an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Induction Base. “No force in the world will stop us.”

“There are many forces trying to do this, but it will not help because this enemy, after what it has done, will not do this again: Neither will it exist,” he added. “We are committed to doing this, and each one of you now, at this base, will contribute in one way or another to completing the goal. This must be.”

Netanyahu spoke Tuesday to new recruits scheduled to join the forces, meaning potential deployment into the Gaza Strip for the much-touted Rafah incursion. The prime minister examined data about the new recruits and remarked on how impressed he has been with their motivation to serve their country. 

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“This is a very significant day in your lives and in the life of the state,” Netanyahu proclaimed. “The state exists thanks to our ability to defend ourselves. These attacks have not ceased since we established the state; this has been the fate of the Jewish people for hundreds and even thousands of years.”

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu give a press statement in Jerusalem on March 17, 2024. (Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images)

“What changed with the establishment of the state is our ability to repel these attacks, sometimes at a very heavy cost, but with a strength that the entire world understands, may not always like, but we know that without it, we would not exist,” he stressed. 

“This is what you are doing here today, in the various units, brigades and corps,” he continued. “We are, in effect, defending the existence of our state, which is also the personal existence of each and every one of you, your families, your friends and also the coming generations.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Israeli Defense Force soldiers on the front lines ahead of the initial ground invasion. (Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו @netanyahu)

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“This is no exaggeration or lofty words,” Netanyahu said. “These are very precise words; this is what will determine if our state exists.”

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Israeli army battle tanks move in along the border with the Gaza Strip on April 2, 2024, amid the war against the terrorist group Hamas. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images)

Netanyahu earlier this week underscored his opposition to a cease-fire unless Hamas releases all remaining hostages, but he ordered the bulk of his ground forces to pull back from the Gaza Strip after claiming the IDF’s 98th commando division had “concluded its mission in Khan Yunis.” 

“The division left the Gaza Strip in order to recuperate and prepare for future operations,” the IDF said in a statement issued Sunday.

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The Shabbat table with 134 empty chairs representing Israeli hostages, in front of Alberta legislature, commemorating six months since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack killing 1,200 Israelis, organized by Jewish Federation of Edmonton, on April 5, 2024, in Canada. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“A significant force led by the 162nd division and the Nahal brigade continues to operate in the Gaza Strip, and will preserve the IDF’s freedom of action and its ability to conduct precise intelligence-based operations,” the statement continued.

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Netanyahu promised his cabinet that the war in Gaza would continue, however, arguing that “there is no war more just than this one.”

Netanyahu on Monday also said that his forces had set a date for the Rafah incursion, Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst reported.

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Thousands of Israelis stage a demonstration demanding Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation, early elections and the release of Israeli prisoners in Gaza, in Tel Aviv on April 6, 2024. (Saeed Qaq/Anadolu via Getty Images)

President Biden and regional allies have urged Israel not to pursue a further invasion. The U.S., U.K. and Qatar have continued to seek a deal with Hamas to secure the release of all hostages, but negotiations have hit several roadblocks from both Israel and Hamas.

Biden in March said he approved of the speech by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calling for a change of leadership in Israel that is more willing to consider a cease-fire and abandon further ground operations.

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Speaking from the Oval Office, Biden said, “Sen. Schumer contacted my staff, my senior staff. I’m not going to elaborate on the speech. He made a good speech, and I think he expressed a serious concern, shared not only by him but by many Americans.”

Fox News Digital’s Yonat Friling, Timothy H.J. Nerozzi and Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report. 

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