(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Friday, 11 July 2014), at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, issued the following statement:
"This is the fourth day of Operation Protective Edge. The IDF, the ISA and the security forces are fighting Hamas with increasing intensity. As of now, we have hit over 1,000 Hamas', Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations' targets, and we are still busy.
The pace of attacks in this operation is double that of Operation Pillar of Defense and the military strikes will continue until we can be certain that the quiet has returned to Israeli citizens. I would like to make it clear that no terrorist target in the Gaza Strip is immune but it must be pointed out that Hamas's leaders, commanders and activists are hiding behind the residents of Gaza and they are responsible for any injury to them.
The difference between us is simple. We develop defensive systems against missiles in order to protect our civilians and they use their civilians to protect their missiles
. And this is the entire difference: They fire indiscriminately at our civilians and our cities in order to attack them. Sometimes they hit soldiers by mistake. We strike at their armed forces and sometimes we hit civilians by mistake.
I made this point – and many others – clear in recent days in the conversations I have held with major world leaders. I had a good conversation last night with US President Barack Obama, also with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I had good talks with all of them, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and British Prime Minister David Cameron, and of course with French President Francois Hollande. To all of them I said something simple – no country would accept its civilians being fired at without a harsh response. I said that I would not allow Israel's citizens to live in this reality. No international pressure will prevent us from operating with full force against a terrorist organization that calls for our destruction.
We will continue to strongly hit all those who try to attack us and we will continue to take determined and prudent action to protect our home front, the citizens of the State of Israel. Iron Dome is a great asset to our national security and I think that it is additional proof of the technological superiority of the State of Israel. This is one of the more impressive developments in defensive war materiel in recent decades. In recent years, my governments – this is my second government – have invested billions in home front defense; Iron Dome was a considerable portion of this sum, and we are working to cover the entire country with systems that can intercept missiles from any distance.
And perhaps the most important defense in the end, with certainty, is your strength, citizens of Israel. The strength that you have been showing helps us in conducting this operation in a responsible and sagacious manner. I ask only one thing of you – continue to listen to the instructions of IDF Home Front Command, they both save lives and prevent Hamas from realizing the goals that it has set. We will continue to do whatever we need to guard over you but I also ask you to do what is necessary in order to guard your lives and those of your children. I am proud of the way in which you have been conducting yourselves and I am proud of your support. I am proud to be your Prime Minister."