Israel is engaged in a battle against extremist Islamic elements led by the Iranian regime and cannot rely on the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
The remarks came during a visit by Netanyahu to IDF Central Command, during which he held a situational assessment with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The prime minister spoke with members of the Duvdevan commando unit, which specializes in undercover operations and urban warfare.
“We are in a confrontation in a region in which there is a continual struggle between those who want to move forward with us and radical Islamist forces that want to take us back to medieval times. It is a major struggle,” said Netanyahu. “Externally, it is—of course—run by Iran, which is our greatest enemy, and we are confronting it. Locally, there are forces that also want to strangle us in various places. Relatively, we are succeeding at the moment, in holding them and in deterring them, whether in [Hamas-rule] Gaza or in [Hezbollah-controlled] Lebanon,” he continued.
“We would be pleased if the Palestinian Authority would do its share, but we see that it is not. In most cases, it is not confronting those who need to be confronted. It is unclear how long this will continue, but we certainly cannot rely on it,” he said.
The prime minister stressed Israel’s need to maintain security control in Judea and Samaria, which he said necessitates having boots on the ground.
“When we talk about security control on the ground, we mean going into the area. When we talk about going into the area, we mean a range of operations; however, first of all, this capability is yours. You are the vanguard of the security capability of the State of Israel in Judea and Samaria, and not only there. I would like to commend you for this. I want you to continue sharpening the spear-point,” said Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s comments come on the backdrop of an uptick in Palestinian terrorism, including an attack late last month at a synagogue in Jerusalem that killed seven Israelis.
The IDF has since March 2022 been engaged in a major counter-terrorism offensive dubbed “Operation Break the Wave,” conducting near-nightly raids to eliminate and capture Palestinian terrorist cells, many of them Iranian-sponsored.