Last Updated: November 13, 2023, 11:00 IST
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday appeared to defer questions on taking personal responsibility for failing to prevent the October 7 Hamas attack, saying that there would be time for such “difficult” questions once the war is over.
In an interview with CNN, Netanyahu said that it is “a question that needs to be asked,” but that the country’s primary goal is to eliminate Hamas. “We’re going to answer all these questions,” the Israeli prime minister told the American broadcaster, adding that, “Right now, I think what we have to do is unite the country for one purpose; to achieve victory.” “Let’s focus on victory – that’s my responsibility now.”
This comes a day after Netanyahu pushed back against growing international calls for a ceasefire, saying Israel’s battle to crush Gaza’s ruling Hamas militants will continue with “full force.” In a televised address, Netanyahu said a ceasefire would be possible only if all hostages held by militants in Gaza were released. He also rejected the idea that the Palestinian Authority, which currently administers autonomous areas in the West Bank, would at some stage control Gaza.
‘I Was Wrong, I Apologise’: Netanyahu After Storm Over Post Blaming Security Chiefs for Oct 7 Attack
Ever since the attack, Netanyahu has been under the firing line for failing to anticipate the deadly attack on Israel since the country’s founding in 1948, when Hamas killed more than 1,200 people and took more than 200 hostages. During last week’s protest in Tel Aviv, families of hostages held by the militant group in Gaza called on Netanyahu and the government to do more to secure the release of their loved ones.
Last month, the Israeli PM was forced to apologise for a post in which he cast blame on the country’s security services for failing to anticipate Hamas’s October 7 attack, saying he was “wrong” to make such comments at a time when unity is paramount. In a now-deleted post on X, Netanyahu took a dig at his own intelligence services, saying they had failed to warn him of a looming Hamas assault and instead assured him the group was “deterred”.
(With agency inputs)