Israeli Merkava tank moves towards the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Israeli Merkava tank moves towards the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Vowing to continue with full strength, PM Netanyahu said the IDF made important achievements in the war against Hamas while gaining regional and global support.

PM Netanyahu (R) cites tight cooperation with Defense Minister Ya'alon (C) and IDF Chief of Staff Gantz. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Flash90)

PM Netanyahu (R) cites tight cooperation with Defense Minister Ya’alon (C) and IDF Chief of Staff Gantz. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Flash90)

On Saturday evening, speaking at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Protective Edge will continue with “full strength, in order to complete the goals of the operation: the restoration of quiet and the restoration of security for a lengthy period for the citizens of Israel while inflicting significant damage on the terrorist infrastructures.

“At the same time, our forces are now completing the work of striking at and neutralizing the terrorist tunnels in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli leader said. “Dozens of tunnels have been neutralized so far. We are striking at the strategic network that Hamas has invested such great effort in over the years. These tunnels would have enabled Hamas to kidnap and murder civilians and IDF soldiers by launching simultaneous attacks from the many tunnels that penetrate our territory.”

According to Netanyahu, the IDF has made “very significant achievements in the fighting.”

IDF Soldiers Show ‘Extraordinary Heroism’

The IDF soldiers “are showing extraordinary heroism,” the prime minister said. “Their bravery has been shown in the IDF’s very impressive and daring operations. This has been a complex operation, which is being carried out in urban areas, in tunnels, with new kinds of munitions, amidst considerable friction with a civilian population. I am proud of our soldiers and commanders who are working splendidly in this dangerous campaign. They are fighting with dedication, determination and a sense of mission that is without peer.

Protective Edge

Mourners at the grave of Major Benaya Sarel at the old Jewish cemetery in Hebron during his funeral on Sunday. Sarel, 26, was killed in battle on Friday. (Photo: Flash90)

“Citizens of Israel, the resilience that you are showing enables all of us to conduct the campaign sagaciously and responsibly in order to achieve the goals of the operation,” he added. “I thank you for the unity, especially at this time.

The “tight cooperation” between Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz “enables us to precisely plan and carry out the campaign,” the prime minister said.

“US and European support of the need to demilitarize the terrorist organizations is an important achievement for the State of Israel,” he continued. “It will strengthen our demand to link the rehabilitation and development of the Gaza Strip with its demilitarization from rockets, tunnels, etc. We regret every civilian who is hit inadvertently.

Link Forged with Regional States against Terror

“We are enlisting the international community to support this goal of linking the rehabilitation and development of Gaza to its demilitarization, but no less important – this may surprise many, but not us – is the unique link which has been forged with the states of the region. This as well is a very important asset for the State of Israel. With the cessation of the fighting and the conclusion of the campaign, this will open new possibilities for us.

terror tunnels

Hamas weapons discovered by IDF in northern Gaza. Netanyahu warned that terror has no borders. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

Netanyahu praised the “clear and sharp statements by US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry “who placed the direct responsibility for violating the ceasefire on Hamas, and for President Obama’s remarks last night regarding Israel’s right to defend itself against rockets and tunnels. Similar voices have been heard from other important leaders around the world.

“But, unfortunately, there are other voices and to them I say: Terrorism has no borders. Today, it threatens the State of Israel. Tomorrow, it will threaten your countries,” Netanyahu warned. “We are doing what we are doing in the face of this criminal aggression by the terrorist organizations against our citizens and soldiers, but what would you do? Will you stand alongside Israel, a democratic and moral state which is acting to defend its citizens or will you continue to stand opposed and take a forgiving stand in the face of a murderous terrorist organization that attacks our people and is brutal toward its own?”

Hamas Misled Kerry and Ban Ki-moon

“Hamas wants the residents of Gaza to suffer and be hurt and thinks that the world will blame Israel for their suffering,” he asserted. “There are many people in the world who understand exactly what Hamas is, the same organization that, together with Qatar, assured US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon regarding a ceasefire. It misled both of them.”

The Israeli leader concluded by assuring the citizens of Israel that the IDF “is acting and will continue to act until our mission is completed.”

Source: Government Press Office