"This will be a victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, of life over death. In this war we will stand steadfast, more united than ever, certain in the justice of our cause. This is the mission of our lives. This is also the mission of my life."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Saturday, 28 October 2023), at the joint statements with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz [translated from Hebrew]:
"Citizens of Israel, yesterday evening, additional ground forces of ours entered the gates of Gaza, at the doorstep of the fortress of evil. This is the second stage of the war, the goals of which are clear: Destroying Hamas's military and governing capabilities, and bringing the captives back home. We made the decision to expand ground operations unanimously, both in the War Cabinet and in the Security Cabinet. We did this in a balanced and considered way, based on a commitment to ensure both the destiny of the state and the security of our soldiers. The commanders and soldiers are now fighting on enemy territory knowing that the people and the leadership of the people are behind them.
"In recent days, I have met with our soldiers at their bases, at the assembly points, in the north and in the south. We have an amazing army, with wonderful and heroic soldiers: Jews and non-Jews, secular and religious, left and right. They are all imbued with a fighting spirit the likes of which I have never seen, including a willingness to fight with strength and force against an enemy whose brutality and criminality are unparalleled.
"They are longing to recompense the murderers for the horrific acts they perpetrated on our children, our women, our parents and our friends. They are committed to eradicating this evil from the world, for our existence, and I add, for the good of all humanity. The entire people, and the leadership of the people, embrace them and believe in them. 'Remember what Amalek did to you' (Deuteronomy 25:17). We remember and we fight.
"Our brave soldiers who are now in Gaza, around Gaza and in the other sectors throughout the country, join a chain of heroes of Israel that has continued for over 3,000 years, from Joshua, Judah Maccabee and Bar Kochba, and up to the heroes of 1948, the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War and Israel's other wars. Our heroic soldiers have one supreme goal: To destroy the murderous enemy and ensure our existence in our land. We have always said 'Never again'. 'Never again' is now.
"I also met today with the families of the captives and with bereaved parents. My heart was broken. I reiterated to them: At every stage up to now and at every stage from now, we will exhaust every possibility to bring our brothers and sisters back to their families. Their abduction was a crime against humanity. Whoever dares to accuse our soldiers of war crimes are hypocritical liars who lack so much as one drop of morality. The IDF is the most moral army in the world. The IDF does everything to avoid harming non-combatants. I again call on the civilian population to evacuate to a safe area in the southern Gaza Strip.
"In contrast, the cynicism of the enemy knows no bounds. He carries out war crimes by using civilians as human shields, by using hospitals as terrorist command centers and to supply fuel to its war machine. Many in the world understand very well what we have claimed through the years: Israel is fighting not only its war, but a war for all of humanity – the war of humanity against barbarism. Our allies in the West and our partners in the Arab world, understand today that if Israel does not win, they will be next in line in the axis of evil's campaign of conquest and murder.
"Since the start of the war, we have succeeded in securing broad international support which includes leaders from the US and Europe, led by President Biden, together with the French President, the British Prime Minister, the Italian Prime Minister, the German Chancellor, and the leaders of the Netherlands, Greece, Cyprus and from other countries as well. They came to us in wartime and brought one clear message: We not only support you – we hope for your victory. We welcome this. We will stand alone but it is good to stand together because we have no other choice.
"We also want to clarify that there is one thing that must be underscored: There are moments in which a nation faces two possibilities: To do or die. We now face that test and I have no doubt how it will end: We will be the victors. We will do and we will be the victors.
"In the first weeks of the war, we pounded the enemy with a massive aerial campaign, the force of which has been increasing in recent days, in order to assist our forces in making a safer ground incursion. We have eliminated countless terrorists, including arch-terrorists, and we have destroyed many terrorist command posts and infrastructure. We are only just getting started.
"The war inside the Gaza Strip will be long and difficult – and we are ready for it. This our second war of independence. We will fight to defend our homeland. We will fight and not retreat. We will fight on land, at sea and in the air. We will destroy the enemy above ground and below ground. We will fight and we will win.
"This will be a victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, of life over death. In this war we will stand steadfast, more united than ever, certain in the justice of our cause. This is the mission of our lives. This is also the mission of my life.
"On your behalf, on behalf of all of us, I pray for the wellbeing of our soldiers: 'May G-d make the enemies who rise against us be struck down before them! May He subdue our enemies under them and crown them with deliverance and victory.'
"Together we will fight and together we will win."