On Wednesday, October 25, the Embassy of Israel in India conducted an online press conference, with the objective to discuss and analyze the latest events which are taking place during the course of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The event was moderated by the Embassy Spokesperson, Guy Nir, and the speakers were the Ambassador of Israel in India, Naor Gilon; the former Chief of Homeland Security in the ministry of Defense of Israel, Amos Gilead; and IDF Spokesperson for international media, Lt. Col. (res), Peter Lerner.
In his address, Lt. Col. (res) Peter Lerner, informed that while a vast area of Israel has now been made safe, there still is, the possibility of the presence of terrorist in Israel, as 1 terrorist has been picked up, who was trying to go back to Gaza.
‘Our aim is to ensure the safety of the Israeli communities and to repair the barriers on the borders. While the offensive activities of the IDF focus on the destruction and dismantling of Hamas in its entirety, as per the orders received by the government of Israel. From the masterminds of Hamas to every individual terrorist, Hamas will be destroyed completely.’, said Lt. Col. Lerner.
Revealing whether the IDF is planning to carry out a ground operation into Gaza, he said that such a step can only be taken after the government orders for the mobilization of the soldiers, and secondly, after optimal operational conditions are made. But it is right that the IDF is preparing for a ground operation.
Lerner further added that Hamas is currently holding 222 individuals, hostage in Gaza, releasing whom is the IDF’s top priority, and they are being located.
Diplomatic efforts are also being made to get the hostages back to Israel, and 4 have been released till now. He stated that Hamas holding Israelis hostage is in order to inflict psychological pain on Israel, as the youngest hostage is merely 9 months old, while the oldest is 80 years old.
Lerner expressed, ‘We are equally concerned about the increasing Hezbollah attacks in the north, which include anti-tank missile attacks, sniper attacks, and machine-gun fire. Till now, over 30 communities over a range of 5 KM from the northern border of Israel have been evacuated. Yesterday too, rocket fire from Syria was faced on the northern border, and while Israel does not want a 2-front war, it is certainly prepared for the same.’
Touching upon the importance of such press conferences, Amos Gilead said, ‘It is very important to talk with the press in India, and that is why I always try to meet Indian journalists. The strategic relations of Israel with India are uniquely important.’
He further remarked, ‘The whole idea of Islamic terrorism needs to be eradicated, Hamas cannot be our neighbour anymore. We are determined to destroy Hamas, and all its leaders will die.’
Addressing the media, Ambassador Naor Gilon stated, ‘After this war, the investigation into the failure of the Israeli intelligence will certainly be taking place.’
Speaking about the conflict, he said, ‘Hamas is a political leadership, with the support of Palestinian civilians. And Hamas and Hezbollah are both two hands of Iran. Now, the world order is changing and we are all seeing that, while the USA and most of the democracies in the world are against Hamas, and those who think we are fighting terrorism, are standing with us; those who are uncomfortable with this, are against us.’
‘Our intention is clear, we will get rid of Hamas and bring the hostages back to Israel.’, stated Gilon.