Friday, November 16, 2012

Israel Will Continue to Take Whatever Action is Necessary, Says Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Thursday, 15
November 2012), issued the following statement to the foreign press:

"In recent days and weeks, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations
in Gaza have made normal life impossible for over one million
Israelis. No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a
fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and
missile fire, and Israel will not tolerate this situation. This is why
my government has instructed the Israeli Defense Forces to conduct
surgical strikes
 against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. And this is why /Israel
will continue to take whatever action is necessary to defend our

I want to remind you that, seven years ago, Israel withdrew from every
square inch of Gaza. Now, Hamas took over the areas we vacated. What
did it do? Rather than build a better future for the residents of
Gaza, the Hamas leadership, backed by Iran, turned Gaza into a
terrorist stronghold. They fired thousand of rockets at our cities, at
our towns, at our civilians, at our children. They've smuggled
thousands of rockets and missiles into Gaza, and they deliberately
place these rockets and missiles in civilian areas: in homes, in
schools, near hospitals. This year alone, they fired over one thousand
rockets and missiles at Israel, including close to 200 rockets in the
last 24 hours.

I'm stressing this because it's important to understand one simple
point. There is no moral symmetry; there is no moral equivalence,
between Israel and the terrorist organizations in Gaza. The terrorists
are committing a double war crime. They fire at Israeli civilians, and
they hide behind Palestinian civilians. And, by contrast, Israel takes
every measure to avoid civilian casualties. 

I saw today a picture of a bleeding Israeli baby. This picture says it
all: Hamas deliberately targets our children, and they deliberately
place their rockets next to their children. Despite this reality - and
it's a very difficult reality - Israel will continue to do everything
in its power to avoid civilian casualties. 

I have to say that from my talks with world leaders, I have the clear
understanding that they have a clear understanding of this. Yesterday
I spoke to President Obama and I briefed him on Israel's operations. I
want to express my appreciation once again to President Obama for his
unequivocal support for Israel's right to defend itself. I also want
to express my appreciation to the other world leaders I've had a
chance to speak to in the last 24 hours: to President Hollande of
France, to UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, to EU Foreign Minister Catherine
Ashton and to Quartet representative Tony Blair. I want to thank them
for their understanding of Israel's need to defend itself, and
Israel's right to defend itself. 

In the past 24 hours Israel has made it clear that it will not
tolerate rocket and missile attacks on its civilians. I hope that
Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza got the message. If
not, Israel is prepared to take whatever action is necessary to defend
our people."

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