Hamas is manufacturing and storing rockets in Gaza residential areas, and
although Israel will strictly uphold international law, it will not “sit on its
hands” in the face of terrorist threats, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said
Netanyahu’s words came during a visit to the IDF Gaza Division
to mark one year since Operation Pillar of Defense, the eight-day IDF operation
in Gaza last November brought on by a sharp uptick in Hamas rocket
Netanyahu said that Hamas was prepared to fire on Israeli cities
and hide behind civilians in Gaza, which amounts to “two war crimes at the same
“It is our full legal and moral right to direct fire – that is as
precise as possible – at those who fire indiscriminately at our people,” he
said. “The responsibility for any collateral damage that is liable to be caused
to the residents of Gaza lies squarely on Hamas’s shoulders.”
said Operation Pillar of Defense has significantly improved the security
situation in the area. Since the operation, there has been a 98 percent decline
in rocket and missile attacks from Gaza, he said.
“It seems that most of
the firing has been ineffective; there have been 35 instances. There is no doubt
that significant deterrence has been achieved,” he said.
that despite the relative quiet, “we are not deluding ourselves.” He stated that
Hamas was continuing to arm in various different ways and was trying to develop
an “underground track,” through the use of tunnels, to carry out attacks on
He said that while Israel must find a response to those threats,
in the final analysis “deterrence is achieved by the enemy’s knowing that we
will not tolerate attacks on our communities and our soldiers, and that we will
respond in great strength.”
Netanyahu said that in addition to deterring
attacks from Gaza, the country has also succeeded – “even to an absolute degree”
– in closing its border with Sinai. He said there has not been a single
penetration of the Sinai border in the last three months.
briefed on the situation in the South by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Deputy
IDF Chief-of- Staff Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen.