"Not Only Our War, US' Too, Against Iranian Terror Axis": Israeli PM Netanyahu Pledges "Total Victory" Over Hamas

Nishtha Anushree

Dec 19, 2023, 01:59 PM | Updated 02:05 PM IST

Benjamin Netanyahu shows Lloyd Austin photos of Hamas's abductees
Benjamin Netanyahu shows Lloyd Austin photos of Hamas's abductees

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, has restated the nation's goal to attain "total victory" over Hamas. He emphasised that this war isn't solely Israel's fight, but also involves the US, as it represents a conflict against the "Iranian axis."

According to NDTV, he stated that the Iranian terror axis poses a threat to shut down the Bab el-Mandeb maritime strait, thereby endangering global navigation freedom.

During a joint press conference with US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, on Monday (18 December), Netanyahu expressed his gratitude towards Washington for its unwavering support and backing of Tel Aviv amidst the ongoing conflict with Hamas.

In his conversation with the press, Netanyahu stated, "We are engaged in a battle between civilization and savagery. In our discussion, I reiterated our dedication, as Israel, to secure a complete triumph over Hamas. We believe this conflict is not solely ours but, to a large extent, yours (US) as well, given that you are at the forefront of the world's civilised forces."

"This is a battle against the Iranian axis, the Iranian axis of terror, which is now threatening to close the maritime strait of Bab el-Mandeb. This threatens the freedom of navigation of the entire world," he further explained.

He also expressed his gratitude towards Washington for their unwavering backing of Tel Aviv in the midst of the ongoing conflict with Hamas.

"Your efforts to open the strait are commendable and it's not just in our interest, but I believe it serves the interest of the entire civilised community. I want to express my gratitude for the unwavering support you've consistently shown. I also look forward to discussing how we can further serve our mutual interests," Netanyahu added.

During his second visit to Israel following the attacks on 7 October, Lloyd Austin emphasised the US's steadfast and unwavering support for Israel. He also issued a stern warning to any "individual, group or state" against challenging Washington's determination.

Austin emphasised during the joint press conference that President Biden's unwavering commitment to Israel, a small and closely-knit nation, is something he shares. He acknowledged the widespread impact of Hamas's heinous acts on all Israelis and expressed his condolences for the innocent lives tragically lost on 7 October. Austin also showed solidarity with the families of those who are still unaccounted for in Gaza, including American citizens.

He went on to assure that the US will persist in backing Israel by providing all necessary defensive equipment and aiding in the liberation of captives. However, Austin also noted that in the pursuit of 'enduring security', the two leaders are considering the allowance of increased humanitarian aid into Gaza.

"America's commitment to Israel is unwavering, and no individual, group or state should test our resolve. So in the Red Sea, we're leading a multinational maritime task force to uphold the bedrock principle of freedom of navigation. Iran's support for Houthi attacks on commercial vessels must stop," Austin said.

"Now, we will continue to provide Israel with the equipment that you need to defend your country. We will continue to support Israel to find and free all of the hostages. I am also here to discuss how we can best support Israel on a path of lasting security, and that means urgent needs first; we must get more humanitarian assistance for nearly 2 million displaced people in Gaza," he further added.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.