Israel will step up its actions against Hamas and the other terrorist organizations operating from Gaza as part of Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday following security deliberations held in Beersheba.

"The operation will expand and continue until the rocket firing on our cities stops, and the quiet returns," he said on the second day of the military operation.

Netanyahu has consistently defined the objectives of the operation in relatively modest terms to restore the quiet" not, as some are suggesting, to topple Hamas or destroy its rocket infrastructure inside Gaza.  Those later objectives would necessitate a ground action, something Netanyahu has said the IDF is prepared for, but which he has not yet ordered.

Following the meeting with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz, and OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen Sammy Turjeman, Netanyahu said that the IDF was prepared for all contingencies.

"Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing on Israeli citizens," he said. Our army is strong, the home-front is firm, and our people are united. That combination is our answer to the terrorist organizations that want to harm us," he said. "We are all united  in the aim of hitting the terrorist organizations and restoring the quiet.

Netanyahu called on the public to continue to heed the instructions of the home-front command, saying those instructions "save lives."

Also on Wednesday, Netanyahu spoke to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the latest wave of violence.

During the conversation, Netanyahu told the leaders that no other country would allow rocket fire into their countries and that Hamas was responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza because they use them as human shields.







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