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The Prime Minister’s first interview with the Israeli media

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo Credit: Meir Elipur

On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived for a special interview on Channel 14, as part of ‘the Patriots’ host show program led by Yinon Magal. This is the first time Netanyahu has spoken to the Israeli media since the outbreak of the war, and also his first unofficial contact with the Israeli public as a whole for the first time in eight months.

In the interview, Netanyahu clarified his position regarding the deal to release the abductees – with the position that it is impossible to accept a situation in which Hamas remains sovereign in the Gaza Strip at the end of the war. According to Netanyahu, there is a proposal on the table to return some of the hostages in exchange for certain concessions to Hamas, and now the ball is in Hamas’ hands, with Israel continuing to operate in the Gaza Strip until the remaining 120 hostages remain.

In addition, Netanyahu referred to the war situation, and said that within a short period (possibly up to a month) the operation in Rafah would end, and thus the “intense phase” of IDF warfare in the Gaza Strip would come to a close, and a complete transition to the next stage would be carried out – targeted raids and the achievement of freedom of movement in the public sphere of the strip. Netanyahu did not give much information about the IDF’s plans in the north, but claimed that the army was ready for any scenario. In addition, the Prime Minister sought to calm common concerns about the infrastructure prospect of a war in the north, and promised that preparations were being made to protect strategic facilities in emergencies. During the interview, Netanyahu emphasized several times that in the end, all the evacuees will return to their homes.

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