Communicated by the Spokesperson's Department Office of the President:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Shimon Peres this morning at the President's Residence in Jerusalem to discuss the developments in Operation "Pillar of Defense" in southern Israel. During the meeting President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu were updated about rocket fire towards southern and central Israel.
At the start of the meeting President Peres said to Prime Minister Netanyahu, "I am very pleased to see you. The operation currently being undertaken by the IDF and the security services is a justified one, we cannot abandon women and children to the madness of Hamas which continues to fire at civilians without reason. Hamas has no reason to fire at Israel's civilians." President Peres updated the prime minister about his conversations with world leaders in the last few days and said, "I spoke to presidents from across the world, including President Obama – no-one doubts the justification of the operation. This is not the launch of a war but a justified defense of our civilians and the world stands with Israel. Those who preach to us about morality should offer an alternative way to stop the rocket fire from Hamas. No country would agree for its children to live in that intolerable situation."
Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the president and said that in his conversations with world leaders he also received support and understanding for the intolerable situation in which over a million civilians are living under the threat of rocket fire. Prime Minister Netanyahu added that he doesn't believe any country would agree to that situation. With respect to the ongoing operation the prime minister said that the IDF is continuing to hit Hamas hard and is ready to expand the operation into Gaza. He outlined that the aim is to take out the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza while doing everything possible not to harm civilians. Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded by saying that until now there had been impressive achievements and that Israel must continue to hit hard the missiles which are intended for central and southern Israel.
President Peres responded and said, "Our aim is not to start a war and we are all hopeful that the operation doesn't last a moment longer than necessary. I offer my full support to the IDF and the Chief of Staff who are doing everything they can to protect children and to avoid harming civilians."
President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu called upon Israel's citizens to obey the instructions of the emergency services and Home Front Command to minimize the risk to human life. President Peres said, "I have the utmost respect for the wonderful citizens of southern Israel, it is not easy to live between the sirens and run for the shelters. I join with the prime minister in his request that everyone listens to and obeys the instructions of the army and security services."