Speaking on CBS TV station’s ‘Face the Nation’ program on Sunday – the 20th day of Operation Protective Edge – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified Israel’s objective in Gaza and the profound threat that Hamas poses if allowed to continue its activities in Gaza.
Following are excerpts of Netanyahu’s interview on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday:
“We are obviously getting more information now, precise information. But what you see is this vast underground terror kingdom, these vast tunnels in which they poured in tens of thousands of tons of concrete. You know, people were saying, bring concrete to Gaza, bring cement to Gaza to help rebuild Gaza.
“And what Hamas did was take all that cement, all that concrete and put it into the tunnels that are meant to come in under our communities and blow up our kids and kidnap our people. I think — that is why I think that the economic and social relief that people want to have for Gaza and that we want to have for the people of Gaza once this is over is tied to demilitarization.”
Hamas Violates Every Ceasefire
“Israel has accepted five ceasefires up to now. We accepted them and we implemented them. Hamas has rejected every single one of them and violated every single one of them, including two humanitarian ceasefires, which we accepted and implemented in the last 24 hours.
“Now they floated a ceasefire proposal. And you know what? This is quite astounding. They violated their own ceasefire and they’re firing at us as we speak. So, Israel is not obliged and will not let a terrorist organization, a ruthless terrorist organization committed to our destruction, to decide when it’s convenient for them to stop for a moment to rearm and continuing fires on our citizens and our people.”
Israel Will Determine Security Needs
“We will determine what is important for our own security and the way that we can to protect our people, including working against these terror tunnels that they are digging against us. That is how we will act. We will just act to protect our people.
“I’m not going to talk about military operations. I will say we have a right to defend ourselves. You have to just imagine the United States having 80 percent of its population under rocket fire and 80 percent of your people having to go to a bomb shelter within 60 or 90 seconds.
“That is unsustainable. We have — imagine the United States having terror tunnels dug underneath your border in order to come in and explode your kindergartens or murder and kidnap your citizens. Imagine attacks by land, by sea and by air. Obviously, you would take whatever action is necessary to protect your people. And that is essentially what Israel is doing.”
Hamas Must Be Demilitarized
“I can’t go into more information than that. I hope, I hope we achieve a sustainable quiet that will enable us to address the issue of demilitarizing Gaza, because I think that’s the real issue. How do we demilitarize Gaza?
“And if Hamas is weakened, discredited and demilitarized, then we may have a chance to work something with the more moderate forces and get a better future for all of us.”
Written by: United with Israel Staff