A time for war

| November 1, 2023

Until recently, many believed that the promise of progress in the 21st century would enable us to move beyond the barbaric horrors of the past toward a brilliant future—that we could go about our comfortable lives and that evil will simply pass us.

It will not. The horrors that Hamas perpetrated on Oct. 7 remind us that we won’t realize the promise of a better future unless we, the civilized world, are willing to fight the barbarians. The barbarians are willing to fight us, and their goal is clear: Shatter that promising future, destroy all that we cherish, and usher in a world of fear and darkness.

This is a turning point for leaders and nations. It is a time for all of us to decide if we are willing to fight for a future of hope and promise or surrender to tyranny and terror.

Rest assured, Israel will fight. Since Oct. 7, Israel has been at war. Israel didn’t start this war. Israel didn’t want this war. But Israel will win this war.

Hamas launched this war by perpetrating the worst savagery our people have seen since the Holocaust. Hamas murdered children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children. They burned people alive, raped women, beheaded men. They tortured Holocaust survivors and kidnapped babies. They committed the most horrific crimes imaginable.

Iran has formed an axis of terror by arming, training and financing Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and other terror proxies throughout the Middle East and beyond. In fighting Hamas and the Iranian axis of terror, Israel is fighting the enemies of civilization itself.

Victory over these enemies begins with moral clarity. It begins with knowing the difference between good and evil, between right and wrong. It means making a moral distinction between the deliberate murder of the innocent and the unintentional casualties that are the inevitable result of even the most just war.

It means holding Hamas accountable for the double war crime it commits every day by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians and deliberately using Palestinian civilians as human shields. It means not only making clear that the use of human shields is an immoral tactic of war, but making certain it is an ineffective one.

As long as the international community blames Israel for Hamas’s use of Palestinian human shields, Hamas will continue to employ this tool of terror. Hamas will continue to use the basements in Gaza’s hospitals as the command posts of its vast terror tunnel network. It will continue to use mosques as fortified military outposts and weapons depots. It will continue to steal fuel and humanitarian assistance from United Nations facilities.

While Israel is doing everything to get Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to keep Palestinian civilians in harm’s way. Israel urges Palestinian civilians to leave the areas of armed conflict, while Hamas prevents those civilians from leaving those areas at gunpoint. Hamas is preventing foreign nationals from leaving Gaza altogether.

Most despicably, Hamas is holding more than 200 Israeli hostages, including 33 children. Every civilized nation should stand with Israel in demanding that these hostages be freed immediately and unconditionally.

I want to make clear Israel’s position regarding a cease-fire. Just as the U.S. wouldn’t have agreed to a cease-fire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack on 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of Oct. 7.

Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.

The Book of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war—a war for our common future. Today we draw a line between civilization and barbarism. It is a time for everyone to decide where they stand. Israel will stand against the forces of barbarism until victory.

I hope and pray that civilized nations everywhere will back this fight. Because Israel’s fight is your fight. If Hamas and Iran’s axis of evil win, you will be their next target. That’s why Israel’s victory will be your victory.

Regardless of who stands with Israel, Israel will fight this battle until it is won. Israel will prevail. May God bless Israel, and may God bless all who stand with Israel.

This statement was issued by the Israeli Prime Minister to the foreign press on October 30th, 2023.