While Israel fights a war of defense, Netanyahu warns citizens to urge caution and reminds the world of Iran’s direct involvement in Hamas terror.
In Ashkelon on Sunday, a 16-year-old boy and 50-year-old man were injured by rockets. The teen is in critical condition, while the older fellow is lightly wounded.
As tensions escalate, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres acknowledge the bitter reality. “The IDF is fighting terror with determination and dedication. We cannot allow terrorism to drive our citizens into bomb shelters. There can be no compromise with terror,” Peres said.
The teenager, who was on his way to get a haircut, immediately hid behind a wall when upon hearing the siren. He was given first aid by Magen David Adom, Israel’s medical emergency response service, and quickly rushed to the hospital. Upon arriving at Barzilai Medical Center, he was sedated and provided with a respirator to assist in his breathing.
At the start of Sunday morning’s Cabinet Meeting, Netanyahu stated: “Israel is conducting a vigorous military campaign against Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has chosen to attack our cities with massive and indiscriminate rocket fire. I said from the outset that we would respond in strength against this criminal firing at our citizens and this is what we are doing.”
“We will continue to act in a patient and level-headed manner, with responsibility, and vigorously in order to achieve the goal of the operation – the restoration of quiet for a long period while inflicting a significant blow on Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. The IDF is prepared for all possibilities,” Netanyahu said.
On Sunday alone, roughly 45 rockets have flown out of Gaza towards Israel. “This is the entire difference between us and Hamas,” said Netanyahu. “We are using defensive systems against missiles to protect the residents of Israel and they are using the residents of Gaza to protect arsenals of missiles.”
Ben Shapiro, an American author and political commentator, told Fox News on Thursday evening that he was irked by US President Obama’s policy of “asking a state that is under the constant threat of rocket attack aimed at civilian centers to ratchet down its targeting of those rockets…. How can you tell people to stop defending themselves?”
Terror ‘Financed, Armed and Trained’ by Iran: Netanyahu
Netanyahu also touched upon Iran’s nuclear program, pointing to Sunday’s meeting in Vienna, where the foreign ministers of the major powers were discussing the issue.
“I would like to remind them [that] Hamas and Islamic Jihad are being financed, armed and trained by Iran,” Netanyahu declared. “Iran is a major power of terrorism that finances, arms and trains the terrorist organizations we are fighting against. This Iran cannot be allowed the ability to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.
“If this happens, the things we are seeing around us and the things that are happening in the Middle East will be far worse,” he added. “In recent years we have made various forecasts for the Middle East…and these forecasts have, to my regret, come true one by one. The prediction of Iran as a nuclear threshold state cannot be allowed to come true, it cannot. This cannot be and it will not be.”
Netanyahu also attempted to raise the spirits of Israelis while urging them to continue taking necessary precautions.
“To the citizens of Israel,” he said, “you are showing maturity and responsibility and I think that you are impressing the entire world. But I have one request: Do not be complacent. I know that there are people who are going out and who want to see the missiles. I ask you: Do not do this. I ask that you enter protected spaces. We are speaking here from a protected space. We ask you to be in protected spaces and to listen to instructions from IDF Home Front Command. Someone rightly said that that regarding civil defense, one needs not only an Iron Dome, but iron discipline as well. You have shown this up until now. This could yet take a long time and we need both your support and your discipline.”
Author: Elisha Kramer, United with Israel