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Thursday, November 15, 2012
PM Netanyahu: statement to the foreign press

PM Netanyahu's statement to the foreign press

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

(Communicated by the Prime Ministerís Media Advisor)

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 people.

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. Theyíve 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.

Iím stressing this because itís 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 Ė and itís a very difficult reality Ė 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 Israelís operations. I want to
express my appreciation once again to President Obama for his unequivocal
support for Israelís right to defend itself. I also want to express my
appreciation to the other world leaders Iíve 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 Israelís need to
defend itself, and Israelís 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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