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Netanyahu uses Holocaust ceremony to brush off international pressure against Gaza offensive

In World
May 05, 2024

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected international pressure to halt the war in Gaza in a fiery speech marking the country’s annual Holocaust memorial day, declaring: “If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

The message, delivered in a setting that typically avoids politics, was aimed at the growing chorus of world leaders who have criticized the heavy toll caused by Israel’s military offensive against Hamas militants and have urged the sides to agree to a cease-fire.

“I say to the leaders of the world: No amount of pressure, no decision by any international forum will stop Israel from defending itself,” he said. “Never again is now.”

Yom Hashoah, the day Israel observes as a memorial for the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany and its allies in the Holocaust, is one of the most solemn dates on the country’s calendar, and speeches at the ceremony generally avoid politics.

Netanyahu also compared the recent wave of protests on American campuses to German universities in the 1930s, in the run-up to the Holocaust.

Sunday’s ceremony ushered in Israel’s first Holocaust remembrance day since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

The day has taken on new meaning this year. Hamas militants killed some 1,200 people in the attack, making it the deadliest violence against Jews since the Holocaust.

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