"I would like to update you on three issues. First, the developments in the operation. We are currently three weeks into the ground maneuver, 21 days in which our soldiers paid a heavy price — but we are now in the heart of Gaza City, and have either struck at all the places we targeted or eliminated them. Thousands of terrorists have been killed. Senior commanders in the terrorist organizations will never again carry out horrific atrocities. All the operational objectives approved by the government, unanimously in fact, when presented with the targets, are being achieved one after the other, from the first to the last.
As the Prime Minister told the public at the outset of the operation, this is just the beginning. We are determined to complete the operation, and the end goal of the operation is in fact the end of Hamas. We will not stop until the military and governing capabilities of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are destroyed.
The second thing, and the one that is important to us all, is the matter of freeing the hostages. The War Cabinet is united on this aim, which was also defined as a goal of the war: to create the conditions to return the hostages to their families. As you know, this is not a simple objective to achieve, but it is a central aim and equal in value to any other goal. I can tell you that the War Cabinet is not only united on this goal, but also on how to achieve it, and the way to do it is the path that the Prime Minister is leading with determination and responsibility.
For many long weeks, we withstood heavy international pressure to declare a ceasefire, to have humanitarian pauses, and all without the release of the hostages. And the Prime Minister insisted, also in his conversations with President Biden and with all the world leaders — with the support of all the members of the cabinet — that it was not possible. That is why we are at day 42 of the fighting and we did not agree to order IDF soldiers to stop their progress towards achieving our goals, not even for one minute. The central rule is: when we know that the hostages can be freed, and not in a manipulative way or for Hamas's PR purposes, but rather a massive release of our hostages — only then will we agree to a ceasefire. And even then, it will be very short, because when it is over, we will continue to meet the goals of the war, one of which, as I said, is the continued campaign to free the hostages.
The third issue that I want to update you on is related to the story of the fuel that you heard about. Yesterday, in the early morning hours, the War Cabinet agreed to a special request by the United States to provide two tankers a day for the sewage system in the Gaza Strip, which is on the verge of collapse without electricity and without the capability to run the sewage and water systems operated by UNRWA.
The decision was that we want to prevent the spread of diseases. We don’t currently need epidemics that will harm civilians there or our soldiers. If there is an epidemic, the fighting will be stopped. If there is a humanitarian crisis and an international outcry, we will not be able to continue the fighting under those conditions. Since we are committed to continuing the operation, we asked officials in the security establishment, from the IDF and from the ISA who were at the meeting, whether this decision would adversely affect operational targets, whether it would help Hamas, whether it would prevent us from achieving the goals of the war. The unequivocal answer was that we could agree to the American request, and indeed that was the decision that was made".