Israel /

Netanyahu: 'Israel didn’t start this war, Israel will finish it'

Warning comes as IDF calls up 300,000 reservists and strikes more than 1,700 targets in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to crush Hamas after the Islamist fundamentalist group launched a devastating attack that resulted in the death and injury of thousands of Israelis over the weekend.

Full transcript:

Israel is at war.

We didn’t want this war.

It was forced upon us in the most brutal and savage way.

But though Israel didn’t start this war, Israel will finish it.

Once, the Jewish people were stateless.

Once, the Jewish people were defenseless.

No longer.

Hamas will understand that by attacking us, they have made a mistake of historic proportions. We will exact a price that will be remembered by them and Israel’s other enemies for decades to come.

The savage attacks that Hamas perpetrated against innocent Israelis are mindboggling: slaughtering families in their homes, massacring hundreds of young people at an outdoor festival, kidnapping scores of women, children and elderly, even Holocaust survivors.

Hamas terrorists bound, burned and executed children.

They are savages.

Hamas is ISIS.

And just as the forces of civilization united to defeat ISIS, the forces of civilization must support Israel in defeating Hamas.

I want to thank President Biden for his unequivocal support.

I want to thank leaders across the world who are standing with Israel today.

I want to thank the people and Congress of the United States of America.

In fighting Hamas, Israel is not only fighting for its own people.

It is fighting for every country that stands against barbarism.

Israel will win this war, and when Israel wins, the entire civilized world wins.

Hamas was formed in 1987 and has controlled the Gaza Strip since around 2006. Though it is a warring faction against Israel, the group is an Israeli creation.

In 1982, Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, Israel’s military governor of Gaza, told the New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief that, at the direction of Israeli authorities, he was providing money to the Muslim Brotherhood, the precursor of Hamas.

The funding was intended to shift power away from communist and Palestinian nationalist movements in Gaza. The rise of Hamas was seen as a counterweight to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official who worked in Gaza for more than two decades, told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in 2009.

David Hacham, an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early 1990s, told WSJ, “When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” adding, “but at the time nobody thought about the possible results.”

Over this past weekend, Hamas killed roughly 700 Israelis, and injured about 3,700 others. New reports have surfaced showing Hamas militants massacred at least 40 babies, with some found beheaded.

Following the attack, the Israeli Air Force carried out a bombing campaign in response, striking 1,707 targets in Gaza, including 475 rocket systems, 73 command centers, 23 strategic infrastructure sites and 22 underground targets.

More than 300,000 reservists have been called up by Israeli military officials who are in the process of planning a ground invasion.

As a result of Israeli airstrikes, 788 Palestinians have been killed, along with more than 4,100 injured.

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