Netanyahu outlines post-war plans, hostage deal in Face the Nation interview

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a 1967 graduate of Cheltenham High School, presented his first official “day after” plan for the Gaza Strip once the war ends.

The plan, which was released on Friday, February 23 in Jerusalem, underlines Netanyahu’s resistance to the creation of a Palestinian state which he sees as a security threat, Reuters reported.

He was also featured in an interview with Face the Nation on Sunday, February 25. Netanyahu said during the conversation that Israel “can’t have victory” in the war against Hamas until Hamas is “eliminated,” and that the U.S. would be “doing a hell of a lot more” if a terror attack similar to October 7 happened in America.

When asked about the hostage deal being put together by President Biden, the Prime Minister responded:

Well, I’m not sure the exact duration, but I can tell you that we’re all working on it. We want it, I want it. Because we want to liberate the remaining hostages, we’ve already brought half of them back. And I appreciate the effort, the combined effort of Israel, the United States, to bring back the remaining hostages. I can’t tell you if we’ll have it. But if Hamas goes down from its delusional claims and goes down- can bring them down to earth, then we’ll have the progress that we all want. 

When asked about the (at least) six U.S. citizens among those being held by Hamas, he responded:

Yes, we set- I’ve set three war goals. 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. They, they’re achieved, basically by our very effective and often heroic military operation. And also by tough negotiations, we’re combining the two and I hope it- it yields a result, but understand that unless we have total victory, we can’t have peace. We can’t leave Hamas in place. We can’t leave a quarter of Hamas battalions in Rafah and say, well, that’s- that’s fine, they’ll be there. It’s like saying a quarter of ISIS will be left and with a defined territory, because you know, they will reconstitute themselves immediately. So total victory is important to achieve the war goal of destroying Hamas, releasing the hostages, and ensuring that Gaza doesn’t pose a threat. But I think also is essential for any future peaceful Middle East.

The full interview is below:

The full transcript can be found here.

According to U.S. News & World Report, today Netanyahu said that he consistently resisted pressure to end the Gaza war prematurely and that this stand has popular U.S. support that “will help us continue the campaign until total victory” over Hamas.

In response to Biden’s warnings Israel’s hard-right government may lose international support, he highlighted a poll that found 82% of Americans support Israel over Hamas.

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Screengrab: Face the Nation