(Communicated by Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 4 August 2014), made the following remarks at the conclusion of a discussion at IDF Southern Command headquarters, with the participation of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Sammy Turgeman:
"The campaign in Gaza
is continuing. What is about to conclude is the IDF action to deal with the tunnels but this operation will end only when quiet and security are restored to the citizens of Israel for a lengthy period. We struck a very severe blow at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. We have no intention of attacking the residents of Gaza. In practice, it is Hamas that is attacking them and denying them humanitarian aid. I think that the international community needs to strongly condemn Hamas and also demand, just as we are demanding, that the rehabilitation of Gaza be linked to its demilitarization.
I would like to express special appreciation for the Defense Minister, the Chief-of-Staff, GOC Southern Command, our heroic soldiers and commanders, and also the ISA, which has been assisting them. There has been very strong teamwork here the goal of which is to bring security to the citizens of Israel and the State of Israel.
I express deep appreciation to all of our soldiers for their fighting spirit under difficult conditions, in urban areas with tunnels. There are many stories of heroism here. I am impressed by the effort and by the operations in the field.
I would like to congratulate the commanders and soldiers on what they have achieved. I visited with wounded soldiers in Be'er Sheva
today. I wish them a quick recovery; they have tremendous spirit. Along with the Defense Minister, the Chief-of-Staff and all of Israel, I would like to again send my condolences to the families of the fallen."