IDF Advances Toward Central Rafah as Israelis Angered by Hostage Video, Palestinian Statehood Decision

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli leaders claim the declaration of a Palestinian state by three European nations would reward terrorism.

The decision by Norway, Ireland, and Spain came as Israeli forces made significant progress in their fight against Hamas inside Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the declaration concerning statehood.

“The intention of several European countries to recognize a Palestinian state is a reward for terrorism,” he stated. “Eighty percent of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria support the terrible massacre of October 7. This evil must not be given a country. This will be a terrorist state, it will try to repeatedly carry out the massacre of October 7, and we will not agree to that. A prize for terrorism will not bring peace, and it will not stop us from defeating Hamas either.”

President Joe Biden and the U.S. State Department both insisted that any declaration of a Palestinian state must come through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

On national TV Wednesday, Israelis witnessed footage from October 7th of the kidnapping of five female soldiers.

The three-minute video shows the young women terrified, bullied, and bloodied. One terrorist boasted that these are women who can get pregnant.

Another said, “You dogs, we will step on you,” and threatened to shoot them all.

The young women were kept in a room and then taken by jeep into Gaza.

The families of the soldiers agreed to release the heart-wrenching video to expose some of the horrors Hamas committed on that day and to push for their freedom.

Knesset member Sharren Haskel told CBN News, “Hamas and other leaders say that they will do it again and again and again if necessary. You see their bodies being – you know – thrown-around shots. You see them bleeding. They need medical attention.”

“Those terrorists are yelling there that these are girls – that they need to end pregnancies,” Haskel added. “What does that mean? We are now almost eight months into this war. What does that mean for those little girls? For their parents? We need to bring them back home now. And the only way is military force on Hamas.”

The Israel Defense Forces say troops have made significant strides inside Gaza. According to reports, the IDF has reached the outskirts of the center of Rafah, yet they have entered the city center.

IDF forces also found rocket launchers in the Rafah area.

“Every day, IDF forces eliminate more terrorists, discover and dismantle more terror infrastructure,” Haskell reported. “In Jabaliya, soldiers arrived at a mosque to find Hamas stored missiles and rocket launchers there.”

Israel believes Hamas leaders, along with groups of the last remaining battalions are hiding in the city, with some of the remaining 124 hostages among them, including, perhaps, some of the female soldiers seen in the video. 

The Biden administration has openly criticized Israel’s military strategy in Gaza. It had said for months that Israel had no “credible plan” to evacuate citizens out of Rafah.

However, in two weeks, Israel has safely evacuated nearly a million Gazans to safe zones.

The Wall Street Journal noted the White House’s opposition to Israel’s military strategy “has dragged out the war to all but Hamas’ detriment.”

Meanwhile, the German government says it agrees with the International Criminal Court and will arrest Netanyahu if he comes to Germany. On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Mike Johnson promised legislation that would impose sanctions on the ICC.

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