Israel Political Brief August 21, 2014: Netanyahu says Gaza op will continue, suggests return to peace talks

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Netanyahu says Gaza op will continue, suggests return to peace talks

Source: JTA, 8-21-14

In statements defending Israel’s conduct in its ongoing conflict in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he “will look forward to restarting peace negotiations” with the Palestinians…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 21, 2014: IDF strikes kill three Hamas commanders

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IDF strikes kill three Hamas commanders

Source: JTA, 8-21-14

IDF strikes kill three Hamas commanders

Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed three senior Hamas commanders…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 20, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement on Continuing Operation Protective Edge

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Statement by PM Netanyahu

Source: MFA, 8-20-14

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Operation Protective Edge has not ended, because this is a continuing campaign. Our struggle against the terrorist organizations has continued for many years. Our policy toward Hamas is simple: If they fire, they will be hit very hard.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following statement at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv:

“First, I would like to personally turn to the IDF soldiers and commanders, to the bereaved families who lost their dear ones in Operation Protective Edge, to the wounded who are recovering in hospital, to the residents of communities close to the Gaza Strip, to the residents of the Negev, the greater Tel Aviv area, Jerusalem and the coastal plain, and to all citizens of the State of Israel.

I would like to commend you and to thank you for the steadfastness and extraordinary unity that the citizens and soldiers of Israel have shown during the past weeks. I want you to know that the ultimate responsibility for your security and peace is mine, as Prime Minister. I am concerned for the security and peace of all Israelis, both the sons that we have sent to the front and the families that are strong and determined in the home front.

Our goal is that the residents of Kerem Shalom, Sderot and the other communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Ashkelon and Tel Aviv will be able to sleep quietly and that the children of Ofakim, Netivot, Ashdod and Be’er Sheva won’t have to run to the protected areas at school.

Along with my colleagues, especially Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, who is currently attending a memorial ceremony for IDF soldiers, we are taking all measures to complete the campaign and achieve the goals that we set for ourselves: The restoration of quiet and security for you all. We are doing this in full cooperation, with sagacity, responsibility and determination, and thus shall we continue until the goal is achieved.

One consideration stands before me – the good of the State of Israel. And this consideration is the only one that guides my decision-making, as well as that of the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff, no other object, no harsh words from either the Right or the Left, and I condemn all harsh words, and no other interests, only the responsibility for the security and peace of all Israelis. Accordingly, I will continue to act with determination, responsibility and sagacity.

Operation Protective Edge has not ended, not even for a moment, because this is a continuing campaign and I am not speaking only about recent weeks. Our struggle against the terrorist organizations is long and has continued for many years – against Hezbollah, Al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza, which is part of an Islamic terrorist network the newest member of which is a murderous gang, another terrorist organization, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and it has also attacked Lebanon.

In recent weeks we have hit Hamas very hard on the battlefield. All of the networks that it built in order to attack us have been foiled.

First of all, we prevented – via Iron Dome – attacks by thousands of rockets against our communities. We have killed hundreds of terrorists. We have destroyed thousands of rockets and launchers. We broke up the network of assault tunnels that Hamas built over the years in order to launch simultaneous attacks against our communities and we foiled all of its attempts to attack us from land, sea and air.

This is the harshest blow that Hamas has taken since it was founded. And I remind you that we have already dismantled its capabilities in Judea and Samaria and blocked its attempts to carry out a coup. We did all this before and during the operation. We have hit Hamas very hard. We are determined to continue the campaign by all means for as long as it takes. We will not stop until we have assured full security and a quiet life for the residents of the south and for all Israelis.

Hamas thinks that it can wear us down. It is mistaken. The Israeli people are strong. Instead of attrition, Hamas will be crushed – its infrastructures, terrorists and commanders.

Our policy toward Hamas is simple: If they fire, they will be hit, and not just hit but hit very hard. And if Hamas does not understand this today, it will understand it tomorrow. And if not tomorrow then the day after tomorrow because in the Middle East, one needs not just military power but stamina and patience.

My grandfather came here in 1920, here to Jaffa. Several months after he came here, thugs burst into the Jewish immigration office in Jaffa and murdered Jews, in this area, including the well-known author Yosef Haim Brenner. This was almost 94 years ago.

Since then we have been fighting against terrorism – with considerable success. In this time we built our state, developed our cities, developed our economy and created a magnificent army.

Our spirit has not fallen, not even for a moment. On the contrary, it has grown, as has our unity, and we must continue to maintain our internal unity, as well as the courage and resilience of the nation and the home front.

All of these are vital components of our national strength. All of these are foundation stones as we fulfill the mission we have set for ourselves – restoring quiet and security, and I would like to add, in light of the very dramatic changes taking place in our region, not all of them negative, I also add achieving a new diplomatic horizon for the State of Israel.”

Following are remarks in English by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the press conference:

I hope President Abbas plays a constructive role. He has an opportunity to do so.  I think he has to understand obviously that no one, and least of all Israel can accept the kind of terror attacks that are coming from Hamas. I think that were acting well within our rights, probably more rigorously than any, I would say. No other country has acted more rigorously than Israel in defending itself within legitimate means. And I expect President Abbas to do that.

I will look forward to restarting peace negotiations with a Palestinian government committed to peace with Israel, to the end of terror, to fulfilling the previous obligations that we have. And I think this is part and parcel of the larger picture that I’m talking about. We have to think carefully how we tie in the new circumstances to the advantage of peace and against terror.

Hamas is like ISIS. ISIS is like Hamas. They’re branches of the same tree. And I can say that the entire world has been shocked by the atrocities of Isis. You saw this, the beheading of an American journalist, Foley. It shows you the barbarism, the savagery of these people. Well, we face the same savagery. The people who wantonly rocket our cities and want to conduct mass killings, and when they can they murder children, teenagers; they shoot them in the head, throw people from the sixth floor – their own people; and use their people as human shields.

Hamas is ISIS; ISIS is Hamas. They’re the enemies of peace; they’re the enemies of Israel; they’re the enemies of all civilized countries. I believe they’re the enemies of the Palestinians. And I’m not the only one who believes it.

Israel Brief August 20, 2014: Hamas admits kidnapping Israeli teens

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Hamas admits kidnapping Israeli teens

 Source: JTA, 8-20-14

Hamas admits kidnapping Israeli teens

A senior Hamas official acknowledged that the Hamas military wing was behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief August 18, 2014: Israel-Gaza cease-fire extended 24 hours as progress made on long-term truce

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Israel-Gaza cease-fire extended 24 hours as progress made on long-term truce

Source: JTA, 8-18-14

Israeli and Palestinian officials reportedly have confirmed that the Gaza cease-fire will be extended by 24 hours. READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 17, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting Israel Not Deterred by Hamas’ Threats Will Fight Back Strikes

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PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting

Source: MFA, 8-17-14

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​ If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken. If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken.
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PM Benjamin Netanyahu

  PM Benjamin Netanyahu

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(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Sunday, 17 August 2014), made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“We are in the midst of a combined military and diplomatic campaign. From the first day, the Israeli delegation to Cairo has worked under clear instructions: Insist on the security needs of the State of Israel. Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings. In the past month Hamas has taken a severe military blow. We destroyed its network of tunnels that it took years to dig. We intercepted the rockets that it had massed in order to carry out thousands of deadly strikes against the Israeli home front. And we foiled the terrorist attacks that it tried to perpetrate against Israeli civilians – by land, sea and air.

If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken. If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken. As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to take very harsh blows. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken.

In the stormy and unstable Middle East in which we live, it is not enough that there be more strength, determination and patience are also necessary. Hamas knows that we are very strong but maybe it thinks that we do not have enough determination and patience, and here it is making a big mistake.

We are a strong and determined people. We have seen this in the amazing revelations of strength and resilience in the past weeks on the part of both our soldiers and our civilians. We will continue to be steadfast and united until we achieve the goals of the campaign – the restoration of quiet and security for all Israelis.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and National Security Council Chairman Yossi Cohen briefed ministers on ongoing developments in Operation Protective Edge and the contacts taking place in Cairo on a diplomatic settlement.

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 13, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

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PM Netanyahu meets with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Source: MFA, 8-13-14

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PM Netanyahu: There is a moral divide that is evident today in the world; on one side you see democracies committing to a real future for their people, and on the other you have Islamist tyrannies that have no inhibition and pursue their grisly creeds and their grisly deeds.
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PM Netanyahu with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in Jerusalem

  PM Netanyahu with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in Jerusalem

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(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Wednesday, 13 August 2014), met with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Following are their statements:

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

“Governor, I want to welcome your delegation to Israel. It’s a pleasure to see you all here, especially at this time. I just said to you that the first thing I want you to do is to send warmest regards to your father. I remember him fondly from my days in the UN. At that time in the UN, I had to address the question of the constant attempts to force a moral asymmetry on the world or a false symmetry on Israel. That’s what you do in the United Nations if you are the ambassador of Israel. And I remember how strongly, firmly and clearly Governor Cuomo, Mario Cuomo, stood with Israel at the time and this is a tradition that continues with you and your delegation.

I want to thank you for coming here, for standing clearly with Israel, representing the American people and the people of New York, and also representing the rejection of this false symmetry that is, has made. Just as you wouldn’t put America and ISIS on the same moral plane, you’d never put Israel and Hamas on the same moral plane. Remember that Hamas celebrating 9/11; they celebrated the murder of thousands of innocent people, including thousands of New Yorkers. They celebrated! They were standing on the roofs cheering while all the people of Israel grieved with the United States. When the United States killed Bin Laden, they accused the United States and condemned the United States of committing crimes. This tells you where Hamas is and Israel is on the other side.

Hamas continues to do these horrible things that ISIS does: They persecute Christians, they persecute gays, they persecute women, they basically reject modernity and there are a terrorist tyranny that is imposed on their people. And where their people reject being used as human shields, you know what they do, Governor? They execute them. This is the kind of moral divide that is evident today in the world, and on one side you see Israel and the United States representing democracies committing to human rights, committing to a real future for our people; and on the other side, you have the likes of ISIS and Hamas, Islamist tyrannies that have no inhibition and pursue their grisly creeds and their grisly deeds.

I thank you for coming here and standing on the right side of the moral divide.”

New York Governor Cuomo:

“Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, Prime Minister, it’s our pleasure. We know that you’re going through a very difficult time right now and Israel is going through a very difficult time. And that is precisely why we’re here: Because we want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel, we want to stand in solidarity with you. The delegation that has come forward is unprecedented in some ways. We have both sides of the legislature, the Assembly and the Senate. It’s a bipartisan delegation. We have business representatives, [unclear] leaders, and we all wanted to come as one, in solidarity, in unity, to say to Israel: We understand the situation you’re in, we understand what you are facing and we support your right, your leave to defend your people against terror.

The United States has always been a strong ally of Israel on many, many levels. As New Yorkers, we have many connections, family connections, cultural connections, historic connections, so our relations go very deep. And I speak for all New Yorkers when I say: We stand in solidarity with Israel. The fight that you fight is the fight against terror. Unfortunately in New York, we’ve had a rude awakening to the pain and suffering that terror can cause in 9/11. So we have a special sensitivity in our hearts for what you’re going through now.

We wish you peace, everyone hopes that the killing will stop and we can get to a place of peace. I know that’s your hope. You’ve been quite articulate and eloquent on the subject, but we understand that Israel must defend itself. The discovery of these tunnels I find very troubling indeed. It shows the extensive approach of the enemy, the constant rocket fire and the Iron Dome is successful, but it must stop and we understand that also. So, we pray for peace. We stand with you in defense.”

Israel Political Brief August 10, 2014: Israel, Palestinians agree to new 72-hour cease-fire

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Israel, Palestinians agree to new 72-hour cease-fire

Source: JTA, 8-10-14

Israel and Palestinian factions, including Hamas, agreed to a new 72-hour cease-fire…. READ MORE▸

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 10, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting promising Israel will not to negotiate under fire

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PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting

10 Aug 2014

Source: MFA, 8-10-14

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​Operation Protective Edge will continue until its goal is met – the restoration of quiet for a long period.
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Israel Cabinet meeting

  Israel Cabinet meeting

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(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Sunday, 10 August 2014), made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting: Operation Protective Edge is continuing. At no stage did we declare its conclusion. The operation will continue until its goal is met – the restoration of quiet for a long period. I said at the outset of, and throughout, the operation that it would take time and patience. Israel will not negotiate under fire and Israel will continue to take all action in order to change the current reality and bring quiet to all of its citizens. We will stand together, united and determined, until we complete the work.”

Israel Political Brief August 8, 2014: Hamas renews rocket fire at Israeli cities

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Hamas renews rocket fire at Israeli cities

Source: MFA, 8-8-14

At 8:01, two rockets were fired towards Ashkelon, marking the renewal of rocket fire from Gaza, as Hamas refused to extend the 72-hour ceasefire. After 2.5 hours of rocket fire from Gaza, PM Netanyahu and DM Yaalon ordered the IDF to respond with force….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 6, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu holds press conference in Operation Protective Edge

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PM Netanyahu holds press conference

06 Aug 2014

Source: MFA, 8-6-14

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Hamas must be held accountable for the tragic loss of life. It must be ostracized from the family of nations for its callous abuse of civilians, and Hamas must be prevented from rearming as part of Gaza’s general demilitarization.
PM Netanyahu press conference

  PM Netanyahu press conference

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Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement and answers to questions at his press conference for the foreign press on Wednesday evening, 6 August:

“The rectangle that you see in the center is the UNRWA’s Shahada al-Manar elementary school for boys.

That’s the thing that you see there in reddish color and you see right around that four mortars fires. Five mortars are fired. One mortar fired. One mortar fired. Right around that school. It’s very important to see that and to understand what kind of conditions our forces are facing from Gaza.

Palestinian terrorists fired 11 mortars from the vicinity of an UNRWA school in Zeitoun, Gaza

Here’s a terror tunnel near a school:

Tunnel entrance hidden in Gaza City neighborhood

You see the big building to the right of the arrows? That’s a school. You see civilian houses in a distance of a few meters, a mosque literally touching the school, civilian houses around it. This is where the terror tunnels are dug, and may I say that in many places the terror tunnels were dug from homes. From homes. From inside the homes. So, that is an example again of the use of civilian areas both to fire rockets at our civilians and to dig the terror tunnels for the death squads to reach our people, kidnap and kill them.

I expect, now that the members of the press are leaving Gaza, or some of them are leaving Gaza, and are no longer subjected to Hamas restrictions and intimidations, I expect we’ll see even more documentation of Hamas terrorists hiding behind the civilian population, exploiting civilian targets. I think it’s very important for the truth to come out.

The goal of Operation Protective Edge was and remains to protect Israeli civilians. That means to protect our people from roughly 3,500 rockets, three thousand five hundred rockets that Hamas and the other terrorist groups have fired on our cities, on our towns, on our civilians, on our children in the last month. The goal of this operation was to protect our people from the threat of terror tunnels built to send death squads into Israel, to commit terrorist atrocities against Israel’s civilians, to kidnap and to kill.

Israel deeply regrets every civilian casualty, every single one. We do not target them; we do not seek them. The people of Gaza are not our enemy. Our enemy is Hamas; our enemy are the other terrorist organizations trying to kill our people. And we’ve taken extraordinary circumstances and measures to avoid civilian casualties. The tragedy of Gaza is that it is ruled by Hamas – a tyrannical and fanatical terror group that relishes civilian casualties. They want civilian casualties. They use them as PR fodder. So it’s not that they don’t want them; they want them. And they pretty much say so. Indeed Hamas has adopted a strategy that abuses and sacrifices Gaza’s civilians. They use them as human shields; they endanger them and deliberately increase the death toll. They fire their rockets at Israel from schools, from hospitals, from mosques. You’ve just seen that. From urban neighborhoods, and right next to schools where journalists are staying. You can discover that for yourself.

Of course nearly everyone says that they support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we appreciate those who say this. But there are those who refuse to recognize or to let Israel exercise that right. They would allow Hamas to attack with impunity, because they say they’re firing from schools or from mosques or from hospitals and Israel should not take action against them. That’s obviously a mistake. It’s a moral mistake. It’s an operational mistake. Because that would validate and legitimize Hamas’s use of human shields, and it would hand an enormous victory to terrorists everywhere and a devastating effect to the free societies that are fighting terrorism.

If this were to happen, more and more civilians will die around the world, because this is a testing period now. Can a terrorist organization fire thousands of rockets at cities of a democracy? Can a terrorist organization embed itself in civilian areas? Can it dig terror tunnels from civilian areas? Can it do so with impunity because it counts on the victimized country to respond as it must, as any country would, and then be blamed for it? Can we accept a situation in which the terrorists would be exonerated and the victims accused?

This is the issue that stands not only before the international community today regarding Israel; it stands before the international community with a wave of radical terrorists that are now seizing vast cities, civilian populations and doing exactly the tactic that Hamas is doing. That’s exactly what ISIL is doing, what Hezbollah is doing, what Boko Haram is doing. What Hamas is doing is what is al-Qaeda is doing. And the test now is not merely the test for the international community’s attitude towards Israel – an embattled democracy using legitimate means against these double war crimes of targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians. The test is for the civilized world itself, how it is able to defend itself.

Israel accepted and Hamas rejected the Egyptian ceasefire proposal of July 15th. Now I want you to know that at that time, the conflict had claimed some 185 lives. Only on Monday night did Hamas finally agree to that very same proposal, which went into effect yesterday morning. That means that 90%, a full 90% of the fatalities in this conflict could have been avoided had Hamas not rejected then the ceasefire that it accepts now.

Hamas must be held accountable for the tragic loss of life. It must be ostracized from the family of nations for its callous abuse of civilians, and Hamas must be prevented from rearming as part of Gaza’s general demilitarization. That is the sure way to guarantee that this conflict will not repeat itself. And I’m very glad that Secretary Kerry and others have put forward the need to demilitarize Gaza. This is a long-standing Palestinian obligation yet to be fulfilled. Setting anew this long-term goal is important for Israel, it’s important for the people of Gaza and for all of us who want to see an end to the violence and an end to the suffering.

Every civilian casualty is a tragedy. A tragedy of Hamas’s own working. I think the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel put it best when he said, “Hamas is engaging in child sacrifice. And this is something for which it must be held accountable. For the sake of all our children, it must not be allowed to get away with this.”

Question: “[Inaudible] I wanted to ask: You mentioned the Israeli [inaudible]. That was before the ground operation, before the tunnels [inaudible] and I wanted to ask, will you therefore, if Hamas had accepted the ceasefire at that stage, the tunnels would not have been dealt with and I wanted to ask therefore, people are asking, was it a strategic goal, was it the goal of this operation, was Israel kind of improvising, was there a strategic plan here or were you [inaudible].

And a second question if I may, we’ve seen since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdair, since the West Bank operations, since the Gaza operation, they are rioting, attacks [inaudible] violence in Jerusalem, riots in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and I just wondered if there is concern at the spread of the violence [inaudible].”

PM Netanyahu: “Thank you. We started dealing with the tunnels – first of all, we were going to deal with the threats posed from Gaza either by military means or by diplomatic means – one of the two or both. We began dealing with the first tunnel before the Egyptian initiative. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but we had information about an impending attack from one terror tunnel and we took action before we had the air attacks on our, before we had the air attacks on Gaza in response to their rocketing attacks. We actually dealt with one tunnel.

If we could have dealt with the rest of the tunnels through the Egyptian proposal, which had an immediate ceasefire as we have now, and both sides could raise the topics and specifically the issue of security would be released. That was mentioned there. When we said security, we meant obviously that we would bring up the question of the tunnels: could we deal with it through non-military means and the other threat against Israel – and that’s preferable. As it turned out, Hamas rejected this and therefore we had to deal with them in military means. So we addressed the other tunnels, in addition to the one we had already addressed with military means by doing the, by actually going in.

That first tunnel was struck from the air. We didn’t know that it achieved the result and it’s very hard to achieve that result from the air. You either achieve it by agreement or you achieve it by actually going in to the other side, finding the points of origin of the tunnel or a point of origin, identify the trajectory of the tunnel and then dismantling it, destroying it through various means. And that’s basically what we did. If we could have done it diplomatically, fine. If not, we did it militarily and the army just told us that they completed this activity and then we went out. We went in to deal with the tunnels; we went out after we finished dealing with the tunnels.

[Regarding the Jerusalem question] Well, obviously we’re concerned. We hope that everyone, everyone will work now to calm the situation. That has been our goal from the very beginning in Jerusalem, everywhere, in the Palestinian areas. We don’t need to see loss of life there anymore than we want to see it on the Gaza front. I want to make sure that – you mentioned the Temple Mount – so I want to make sure that everyone understands that Israel respects and will continue to respect the status quo on the Temple Mount. We know that there are arrangements there, including the traditional role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and we are not about to change it.”

CNN: “Prime Minister, [unclear] for CNN. First of all, the IDF has suffered the largest casualties yet in any Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We understand 61 soldiers killed, three civilians. We’ve seen more than 1,800 people killed in Gaza, 900 or almost 1,000 of which are civilians, estimated. Do you really feel that your actions, Israel’s actions were proportionate? And were you using the appropriate precision weapons even if Hamas is using them as human shields?”

PM Netanyahu: “Why don’t you ask the first question? Let me answer that, then you can ask the second question. Why don’t we do that? So first of all, the answer to both your questions is yes, I think it was justified, I think it was proportional and that doesn’t in any way take away from the deep regret for, we have for the loss of a single civilian. We’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they have civilian casualties, as you’ve just seen.

Now, let’s imagine your country – it could be any country, could be the US, could be Britain, could be Germany, France, India, you name it. Let’s imagine your country attacked by 3,500 rockets. Your territory is infiltrated by death squads. What would you do? What would you demand that your government do to protect you and your family? You’d demand that and you’d be right because security, protecting the people, is the first obligation of any government. But what if the rockets are fired from civilian areas? And the tunnels come from schools, from mosques, from private houses where civilians live? Should you then not take action?

Do the terrorists have immunity because of the fear that some civilians will unfortunately get hurt?

Let me tell you what I think disproportionality is: It’s not acting to defend your people and giving the terrorists a license to kill. I think that’s disproportionate and that’s wrong.

Financial Times: “Thanks very much. Mr. Prime Minister, are you prepared to give Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] and the Palestinian Authority a leading role in the post-war order in Gaza? And if so, can you talk about that, specifics, including policing the borders?”

PM Netanyahu: “We have cooperated and are cooperating with the Palestinian Authority on matters that you raised. There are other matters as well, and the answer is that we are cooperating with them and are prepared to see a role for them.

Q: [Inaudible]

PM Netanyahu: “We’re dealing with that right now. I think it’s important in the reconstruction of Gaza, in assuring the humanitarian aid and also the security questions that arise, that we have these discussions and the cooperation with them. And in fact, the ceasefire was coordinated, among other things, with them. It came from Egypt, but they were aware of it and they were speaking to, for the factions, as you know.

As far as the humanitarian aid, since I mentioned it: You know, we’ve given 2,000, we’ve passed roughly 2,000 trucks of humanitarian aid during the last month or so in which this conflict raged. We even gave humanitarian aid – most of these trucks came during the fire. A lot of them came during the ceasefire, the humanitarian ceasefire that Hamas refused to recognize for its own people. It’s quite amazing. We have to do the ceasefire, the humanitarian ceasefire efforts when Hamas doesn’t do it so we even sometimes, many times actually, unilaterally called ceasefire humanitarian pauses, which they didn’t recognize, but we put in the trucks.

We opened a field hospital right on the Gaza passage, in the Erez Crossing on our side, and we called Palestinians who have a problem with hospitals that were being used by Hamas as terrorist sites, as command centers, as firing posts, and we said, okay, we’ll open a field hospital and we did on our side. And you know what Hamas did? It prevented and warned Palestinians not to go there. Well some of them straggled through somehow and we dealt with them. And we are now dealing with our people to address the fuel, throughout the conflict, fuel, electricity stoppages and so on.

So Israel is going all out on humanitarian effort, and we’re prepared to do more and we think more should be done. We just hope that Hamas will start caring for its people and stop preventing humanitarian aid for them, stop sacrificing them as human shields, stop shooting them when they protest because that’s what happens when people protest and they say to Hamas, “What have you done to us?” Well, they just execute them. Just as they prevent journalists from putting out the full truth and journalists, justifiably are concerned. I can understand that.

And Hamas, Hamas does incredible things, just incredible things. There is a report – it’s not my report, it’s the Journal of Palestinian Studies in 2012. Note the year. It’s a few years ago and they’ve since, they’ve done more things. Hamas officials, according to the Journal of Palestinian Studies, reported that at least 160 children had been killed digging the tunnels. There is something fundamentally wrong here. Hamas is sacrificing its people, sacrificing its children and it should not be allowed to get away with it. These are tragedies. The loss of a single child is a tragedy. The loss of mothers, women, families, is a tragedy. But this tragedy should be put squarely where the responsibility for it belongs. The responsibility for this tragedy belongs with Hamas. It’s a deliberate strategy.”

Washington Post: “Mr. Prime Minister, you mentioned Secretary Kerry’s comments supporting demilitarization of Gaza. I’m wondering if you also support what he said about the need to think bigger now, to use the Cairo talks as an opportunity to think more broadly about a two-state solution and if so, what will Israel do to move in that direction?”

PM Netanyahu: “First of all, I had a very good conversation with John, with Secretary Kerry today. We work very closely with him and with the US Administration, with President Obama, throughout this operation and before. And there are reports of the substance and the tone of our relationship that are distorted. They don’t capture the essence of the common values that bind our societies together and bind our governments together. And I appreciate the support that the United States has shown for Israel’s right to self-defense and the appropriation that I asked for, for an additional 225 million dollars of support for Iron Dome. I think these are all very important things for which the people of Israel are deeply grateful and I want to express that.

I think the Secretary’s statement on demilitarization as a strategic long-term goal is very important. I think he’s right that there are opportunities now, perhaps opportunities that we have not seen before with a realignment of important parties in the Middle East to be able to fashion a new reality, one more conducive to the end of violence, to the establishment of calm, a sustainable peace or at least a sustainable quiet which can lead to other things. That is yet to be seen, but that is a goal I think worthy of exploration and pursuit. That’s my goal.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 4, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu holds security discussion at IDF Southern Command

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PM Netanyahu holds security discussion at IDF Southern Command

Source: MFA, 8-4-14

04 Aug 2014

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​ This operation will end only when quiet and security are restored to the citizens of Israel for a lengthy period. We have no intention of attacking the residents of Gaza. In practice, it is Hamas that is attacking them and denying them humanitarian aid.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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(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.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 2, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Operation Protective Edge

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Statement by PM Netanyahu

02 Aug 2014

Source: MFA, 8-2-14

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At the start of the operation we promised that we would restore quiet for the citizens of Israel and we will continue to act until this goal is achieved. We are enlisting the international community to support this goal of linking the rehabilitation and development of Gaza to its demilitarization.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tonight (Saturday, 2 August 2014), made the following statement at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv:

Operation Protective Edge is continuing. The IDF is continuing to operate with full strength in order to complete the goals of the operation: The restoration of quiet and the restoration of security for a lengthy period for the citizens of Israel while inflicting significant damage on the terrorist infrastructures.

At the same time, our forces are now completing the work of striking at and neutralizing the terrorist tunnels in the Gaza Strip. Dozens of tunnels have been neutralized so far. We are striking at the strategic network that Hamas has invested such great effort in over the years. These tunnels would have enabled Hamas to kidnap and murder civilians and IDF soldiers by launching simultaneous attacks from the many tunnels that penetrate our territory.

So far the IDF has very significant achievements in the fighting. At the onset of the operation, our forces attacked and destroyed thousands of terrorist targets: Command centers, rocket arsenals and production facilities, launching areas, many hundreds of terrorists, etc.

Our soldiers are showing extraordinary heroism. Their bravery has been shown in the IDF’s very impressive and daring operations. This has been a complex operation, which is being carried out in urban areas, in tunnels, with new kinds of munitions, amidst considerable friction with a civilian population. I am proud of our soldiers and commanders who are working splendidly in this dangerous campaign. They are fighting with dedication, determination and a sense of mission that is without peer.

I share the pain of the bereaved families and I send them both my condolences and those of the nation. They sacrificed what is most dear to them. Their sons fell in order to defend our country and our home. My heart and the heart of the entire nation goes out to all of them. I talk to them and I know their pain.

I would like to express support to the family of 2nd-Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was abducted yesterday. I understand the family; their words have touched my heart and I will speak with them later this evening. The State of Israel will continue to do its utmost to bring home its MIAs.

Citizens of Israel, the resilience that you are showing enables all of us to conduct the campaign sagaciously and responsibly in order to achieve the goals of the operation. I thank you for the unity, especially at this time.

Cooperation between me and the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff is tight and enables us to precisely plan and carry out the campaign. At the start of the operation we promised that we would restore quiet for the citizens of Israel and we will continue to act until this goal is achieved. This will take as much time as may be necessary; forces will be used accordingly.

US and European support of the need to demilitarize the terrorist organizations is an important achievement for the State of Israel. It will strengthen our demand to link the rehabilitation and development of the Gaza Strip with its demilitarization from rockets, tunnels, etc. We regret every civilian who is hit inadvertently.

We are enlisting the international community to support this goal of linking the rehabilitation and development of Gaza to its demilitarization but no less important – this may surprise many, but not us – is the unique link which has been forged with the states of the region. This as well is a very important asset for the State of Israel. With the cessation of the fighting and the conclusion of the campaign, this will open new possibilities for us.

At this time it is clear what is happening here. Hamas wants the residents of Gaza to suffer and be hurt and thinks that the world will blame Israel for their suffering. There are many people in the world who understand exactly what Hamas is, the same organization that, together with Qatar, assured US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon regarding a ceasefire. It misled both of them.

I welcome the clear and sharp statements by US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, who placed the direct responsibility for violating the ceasefire on Hamas, and for President Obama’s remarks last night regarding Israel’s right to defend itself against rockets and tunnels. Similar voices have been heard from other important leaders around the world.

But, unfortunately, there are other voices and to them I say: Terrorism has no borders. Today, it threatens the State of Israel. Tomorrow, it will threaten your countries. We are doing what we are doing in the face of this criminal aggression by the terrorist organizations against our citizens and soldiers, but what would you do? Will you stand alongside Israel, a democratic and moral state which is acting to defend its citizens or will you continue to stand opposed and take a forgiving stand in the face of a murderous terrorist organization that attacks our people and is brutal toward its own?

Citizens of Israel, the IDF is acting and will continue to act until our mission is completed. After completing action the tunnels, the IDF will prepare for continued action, according to security needs and only according to security needs, until we achieve the goal of restoring quiet to you, citizens of Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 28, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement on Operation Protective Edge Ground Operation Clearing Terrorist Tunnels

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Statement by PM Netanyahu

Source: MFA, 7-28-14

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We will not complete the operation without neutralizing the tunnels, the sole purpose of which is the destruction of our civilians and the killing of our children. This is the clear and unequivocal objective of the State of Israel.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Monday, 28 July 2014), at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, issued the following statement:

“First, I would like to share in the grief of the families whose dear ones have fallen. They have fallen in defense of the nation and we all mourn their passing. There is no more just war than this one that our heroic sons are fighting. I would like to support the soldiers of the IDF who, even now, are continuing to operate inside the Gaza Strip against our enemies.

We knew that there would be difficult days; this has been a difficult and painful day. Patience and determination are needed in order to continue the struggle against a murderous terrorist organization that aspires to our destruction. We are, at present, continuing to take action to neutralize and strike at the terrorist tunnels. We will not complete the mission, we will not complete the operation, without neutralizing the tunnels, the sole purpose of which is the destruction of our civilians and the killing of our children. This is the clear and unequivocal objective of the State of Israel and the need for it has been apparent again today.

The operation against the tunnels is a first and necessary step in the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. The process of preventing the arming of the terrorist organization and demilitarizing the Gaza Strip must be part of any solution. The international community needs to demand this explicitly. Instead of the international community allowing funds to enter the Gaza Strip, via Hamas, for concrete and cement to serve in the unlimited construction of tunnels, there must be monitoring and supervision. In the past, when we raised these demands and these concerns of ours, we were not taken seriously. This has to change. It cannot be that citizens of the State of Israel will live under the deadly threats of missiles and infiltration through tunnels – death from above and death from below.

Hamas has violated every ceasefire proposal. We face a cruel enemy whose brutality is directed not only against us, against our civilians, but is also directed against his own civilians. It exploits their civilians in order for there to be more and more victims even as they send fire and death toward us.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 17, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense and IDF’s Instructions on ground operation in Gaza

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הנחיית ראש הממשלה ושר הביטחון את צה”ל לפתוח בפעולה קרקעית

Source: PMO, 7-17-14

17/07/2014
יום חמישי י”ט תמוז תשע”ד

ראש הממשלה ושר הביטחון הנחו את צה”ל לפתוח הלילה בפעולה קרקעית כדי לפגוע במנהרות טרור החודרות מרצועת עזה לשטח ישראל. במנהרת טרור כזאת חדרו לפנות בוקר מחבלי חמאס לשטח ישראל, במטרה לבצע פיגוע המוני נגד אזרחי ישראל.

צה”ל סיכל בהצלחה גם את פעולת הטרור הזאת. ראש הממשלה ושר הביטחון הנחו את צה”ל להיות ערוך להרחבת הפעולה הקרקעית. ההוראה לפעולה הלילה קיבלה את אישור הקבינט אחרי שישראל הסכימה להצעה המצרית להפסקת אש ואילו החמאס דחה אותה והמשיך בירי רקטות על ערי ישראל.

החמאס גם לא כיבד את הפסקת האש ההומניטארית שיזם האו”ם, והמשיך בירי על ישראל בזמן ההפוגה. לאור התוקפנות הנפשעת והבלתי פוסקת של החמאס, והחדירה המסוכנת לשטחה של ישראל, ישראל מחויבת לפעול להגנת אזרחיה.
מבצע צוק איתן יימשך עד להשגת מטרתו – להשיב לאזרחי ישראל את השקט לתקופה ממושכת, תוך פגיעה משמעותית בתשתיות חמאס ושאר ארגוני הטרור ברצועת עזה.

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 17, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu and DM Moshe Yaalon Order the IDF to Commence Ground Action in Gaza

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PM Netanyahu and DM Yaalon Order the IDF to Commence Ground Action

Source: PMO, 7-17-14

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, this evening instructed the IDF to commence ground action to strike at the terrorist tunnels from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.

Hamas terrorists used such a tunnel to infiltrate into Israel this morning in order to perpetrate a large-scale attack against Israeli citizens. The IDF successfully thwarted this terrorist action.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yaalon also instructed the IDF to be prepared for an expansion of the ground action. The directive for ground action was approved by the Security Cabinet after Israel agreed to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, whereas Hamas rejected it and continued firing rockets at Israeli cities.

Hamas also did not honor the humanitarian ceasefire initiated by the UN and continued firing at Israeli cities during the lull. In light of Hamas’ criminal and relentless aggression, as well as the dangerous attempt to infiltrate Israeli territory, Israel must act to defend its citizens.

Operation Protective Edge will continue until it reaches its goal – restoring quiet to Israel’s citizens for a prolonged period, while inflicting a significant blow to the infrastructures of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations.

Israel Brief July 17, 2014: Israel launches Gaza ground operation

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Israel launches Gaza ground operation

An Israeli soldier directing a Merkava tank, at an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, on July 17, 2014. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Israel launched a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip to destroy tunnels it says are used for terrorist activities….READ MORE

Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/07/17/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/israel-launches-gaza-ground-operation#ixzz37m5fATcW

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 29, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Radical Islamic Movements in Israel, Rocket Attacks from Gaza and Search for three Kidnapped Teens

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 6-29-14
יום ראשון א’ תמוז תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“Over there weekend there was a demonstration in Umm Al-Fahm in which infuriating calls and support for abducting IDF soldiers were heard. Most Israeli Arabs do not take this view and I call on their leaders to be courageous and strongly condemn such calls. As Israelis we cannot countenance such outrageous remarks that call for abducting Israeli soldiers. IDF soldiers protect all of us. We cannot accept infuriating calls to abduct IDF soldiers.

In many cases, those behind such calls and demonstrations are from the northern branch of the Islamic Movement. It constantly preaches against the State of Israel and its people publicly identify with terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Therefore, I directed the relevant authorities to consider declaring the northern branch of the Islamic Movement an illegal organization. This would give the security authorities significant tools in the struggle against this movement.

Over the weekend, the IDF attacked multiple targets in response to firing at Israel from the Gaza Strip .
We are ready to expand this operation as per need. I would like to reiterate that from the moment the Palestinian unity government was established with the Hamas terrorist organization, the Palestinian Authority became responsible for preventing firing at our territory from the Gaza Strip.

Over the weekend, the ISA revealed the identities of those responsible for the abduction of our three youths – Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel and we are continuing to do our utmost to bring them home safely.

Immediately after the abduction, we said that Hamas was responsible. I think that it is now clear to everyone what we based ourselves. Abu Mazen says that he opposes abductions; he says that he wants to proceed on the path to peace. If he stands by what he says, there is only one way to advance peace – and that is to tear up his agreement with Hamas.”

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 26, 2014: President Shimon Peres Addresses the United States Congress and Receives the Congressional Gold Medal

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President Peres Addresses the United States Congress & Receives the Congressional Gold Medal

Source: MFA, 6-26-14

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​President Peres: “Terror knows no borders and obeys no rules.  Terrorists act globally and should be fought globally. We must fight not only the acts of terrorism but also the roots of terrorism.”
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President Shimon Peres addressing the US Congress

  President Shimon Peres addressing the US Congress

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(Communicated by the Office of the President)

Leaders and Members of Congress,

I am humbled to stand here today in this Rotunda, in this great Pantheon of Democracy, the Congress of the United States.

Here, you give expression to the unbreakable spirit of the American people. It was first expressed 237 years ago when your forefathers signed a document whose words will echo for all time. “Among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Those words resonate with as much meaning today, as they did when America’s first patriots wrote them. They have inspired generations of Americans to dream of a better America. And they have inspired peoples across the globe to dream for a better world.

Many people call me a dreamer. I suppose that’s why I have always felt at home here in America. America that was given the privilege to carry the dreams of humanity. My own first dream was to be a shepherd on a kibbutz. This dream came true. At dawn, I watched the sheep in order not to lose one. At night, I watched the stars in order not to miss one.

The dreams of a young shepherd were interrupted by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s George Washington, who called me to serve the Jewish state at birth. I was 24 years old. yet Ben-Gurion entrusted me with heavy responsibilities. He made me Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. He charged me with securing our young nation’s ability to defend itself. I worked hard. I had little time to study. I didn’t know a word of English.

After our War of Independence, Ben-Gurion suggested I go the United States to learn English. “Study the American dream.” He told me. So I did.

I learned that America is not a land for the idle. It is a home for the daring. The American dream is about hard work, pioneering spirit, can-do attitude. I learned that the two great bodies that sit under this iconic marble dome – the Senate and the House of Representatives – offered a tiny Israel, struggling for life, an unbelievable and unbreakable friendship.

You helped Israel out of its loneliness. You helped Israel overcome our small size in a tough neighborhood. You helped us maintain a resilient democracy, to become strong enough to take risks for peace. Whether through military assistance and security cooperation or through diplomatic and moral support, you sent us a clear message: That we are not alone.

On behalf of all the people of Israel, I want to thank my friend and Israel’s friend, President Barack Obama, for standing by our side with an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.

I want to thank each and every one of you, the American Congress, for your unwavering, bipartisan and generous support. Thank you for helping us weather so many storms, And for giving us confidence to face the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The challenges we face are considerable. Together, we must fight terrorism, advance peace, prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Like President Obama, Israel hopes that the issue of Iran will be resolved peacefully. And like President Obama, we believe that Iran should be judged by actions not words.

The artificial structures in the Middle East built by the previous empires are falling apart. At the same time, the rules governing the world are being rewritten. Security and prosperity are no longer mainly national issues. National economies are dependent on the global economy. National security is increasingly dependent on fighting global terrorism. And national security is now increasingly dependent on fighting global terrorism.

Amidst all the chaoss in the Middle East, it is easy to sink into despair. But I have seen too much in my life to lose hope. I have seen Israel defy the odds, time and again. I have seen Israel defeat superior enemies on the battlefield and send soldiers to rescue hostages thousands of miles from home.

Israel has shown it can defend itself against those who sought our destruction. Israel did and will do, everything in our power to bring home our three kidnapped boys – Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal. I met with their parents. They asked me to speak here on their behalf. To make your voices heard all over the world to help bring our boys home. To sound a call across the world against terror. Let’s raise our voices together against terrorism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have seen the genius of Israelis make our poor Middle Eastern land bloom and turn Israel into a global center of technology. I learned that hi-tech can quench the world’s thirst for water and heal the planet. We increased yields without increasing land. As the grandson of a Rabbi burnt alive with his community by the Nazis in a synagogue in Belarus in 1942 –  I know that even the darkest hour cannot prevent a new dawn from arriving.

My friends,

Today and together, we must tackle the two monumental challenges we face: Terrorism and poverty.

Terror knows no borders and obeys no rules. It kills hundreds of thousands, and turns millions into refugees. We see it in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Gaza and elsewhere. Terrorists act globally. Therefore, they should be fought globally. We must fight not only the acts of terrorism but the roots of terrorism. Not just by military means. But by drying up their financial resources. By sanctioning their suppliers of arms. By delegitimizing their actions. By weaving a modern regional net that can catch terrorists and protect the innocent populations.

Arabs are not Israel’s enemies. The terrorists are the enemies of both of us. Terrorists spread danger over the entire region. The region must come together to stop them. The time is ripe to do so.

Religions can play a meaningful role in restoring tolerance and hope. Religion can never permit terrorists to hijack faith and perpetrate violence in the name of heaven. We need more voices like Pope Francis. We need rabbis, priests and imams to preach respect for God in heaven and life on earth.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is our duty to offer the young generation a vision more compelling more promising for the future.  The population of the Middle East grew 5 times over in the last 50 years. Its economy did not.
Poverty soared. An era of science replaced the era of land. We experience it daily. Israel has little land, even less water and no oil. But we became a start-up nation through hi-tech and hard work. I learned that the turmoil of today can provide a new hope for tomorrow. And my dream today is that the Middle East will become a start-up region. To make that happen, leaders in the region must do their share to open their societies.

Because without free thinking there is no new thinking. And without openness there are no discoveries. Global companies should play a role helping the region become up to date and prepare for tomorrow. Two thirds of the Middle East population is under 25. For some, that is a cause for concern. For me, it’s a source of hope. For business, it’s a great opportunity for investment both economically and socially. Global companies are aware that young people want a different future.

They want free expression and self-expression. They want equal rights, including the equal right to be different.

Our two countries – Israel and America – also have a unique contribution to offer. We’re not the same size but we share the same values and the same dreams. Our dreams keep us young. Our values keep us true.

What Israel already learned from experience, we want to share with our neighbors. In my decades of having the privilege of serving Israel. I saw her become a thriving democracy. A diverse society. A leading defense force. And a cutting edge scientific community.

Together we can help put the region on a more promising course. Through initiatives in health, education, agriculture, water, and science. I hope to dedicate myself to this work in the years ahead.

As for America, it remains indispensable. America is the greatest power in the world today. And the only great power in history that never tried to become an Empire. You became great not by taking but by giving. America is a force for good. A force for progress. A force for peace. The world is fortunate that America continues to lead it. 60 years ago, America looked to the moon to discover a distant land. Today, the United States is leading a major scientific effort to reveal the secrets of the mind. We are partners in this effort. May I say that in my judgment, there may be more to discover in the brain than on the moon.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

America and Israel should continue to work together to advance peace. Wars can be waged alone. Peace calls for a collective effort. Israel went through 7 wars and attained 2 peace agreements. With Egypt – the largest Arab country. And Jordan – our longest shared border. I hope that we will be able to renew peace talks with the Palestinians soon. Israel does not intend to rule over other people. It stands against our values and heritage. Israel is committed to Tikkun Olam, bettering the world, and making peace with its neighbors.

President Abbas is clearly a partner for peace. He spoke bravely in Saudi Arabia, in Arabic, against the kidnappings, against terror, and for peace. But you cannot put fire and water in the same glass. Hamas is clearly not a partner for peace. Hamas fires rockets at our civilians. They oppose peace and support terror. Finding a way forward is hard. But we must not lose hope. There is no better solution than two states for two peoples. A Jewish state – Israel. And an Arab state – Palestine.

Peace between Israel and Palestine can forge a broader regional peace. A bridge should be built to enable an Israeli peace initiative to meet the Arab peace initiative. I have lived long enough to see the impossible become possible. To skeptics, I can say: Believe me. Peace is the most possible impossibility.

In one month, I will end my term as Israel’s ninth President. But I will never give up on the struggle to achieve peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I leave you today with one piece of advice. It is the advice of a boy who dreamed on a kibbutz who never imagined where his blessed life would take him. When Theodore Herzl said: “If you will it, it is no dream.” He was right. Looking back on the life of Israel, our dreams proved – not to be too big – but too small.

Because Israel achieved much more than I could have ever imagined. So I ask only one thing of you, the United States of America, this mighty nation of dreamers. Don’t dream small. You are great. Dream big.  And work to will those dreams into a new reality. For you and all humanity. God bless you all. And God bless the United States of America.

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 25, 2014: National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Remarks at a Dinner Honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres

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Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice at a Dinner Honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres

Source: WH, 6-25-14 

Washington, DC
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
As Delivered 

Good evening everyone—erev tov.  And, thank you so much, Ron, Rhoda, for this lovely evening.  It’s a true honor, Ron, to be asked to celebrate one of Israel’s greatest sons and a walking global treasure, my friend President Shimon Peres.

Over the years, Mr. President, you have been many things—a dreamer, a state-builder, a founding father, a prime minister, a peacemaker.  Your life has been the life of the state of Israel. You all sometimes hear him called an “elder statesman,” but I know every one of us in this room would kill to have the energy that you have (Laughter),  You’ve won the world’s admiration and most of its medals, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and, tomorrow, the Congressional Gold Medal—together, America’s highest civilian honors.  And you didn’t just win the Nobel Peace Prize, you earned it, and you earn it every single day.  So thank you, Mr. President, for your tireless efforts to make this world a better place—for your tireless commitment to the state of Israel and tikkun olam.

President Peres and I became friends after we met in 2009 in New York, and he invited me to Israel later that year to speak at the incredible conference that he convenes.  And since then, I’ve been extremely privileged to meet with him many times and to benefit not only from his extraordinary wisdom but also from his unbelievable kindness.  On more than one occasion, when from very far away, he sensed that perhaps I was having a bit of a rough patch, he would call or write or find some other special way of letting me know that he was there, and that I was in his thoughts.  What a wonderful man.  Thank you.

Someone once asked Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv, how it is that you become mayor of a city in Israel—and he said, first, you build the city (Laughter).  So, if someone asks President Peres how he came to lead the state of Israel, well—first, you build the state of Israel.  And that is just what you have done, more than any other man alive.  And, that makes him a great gift to all of us—the last of Israel’s founding lions.

From the moment that President Truman made the United States the very first country to recognize the Jewish state, 11 minutes after Shimon’s great mentor David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence in Tel Aviv, the relationship between our two proud democracies has grown like a mighty oak.  As President Obama reaffirmed when he met with President Peres today, the United States’ commitment to the peace and security of Israel is unbreakable and unshakable.  Our peoples share a friendship that’s rooted in our common values:  liberty, democracy, human rights, and human dignity. You can see it in this room tonight, where we’ve all gathered—leaders and citizens from across America’s political spectrum, united in our love and support for Israel.  And so much of that, too, is because of the personal efforts—over a lifetime—of Shimon Peres.

Now, everyone here knows that he’s eminently quotable.  He’s the inventor of the “Peres-ism” (Laughter).   I’m sure all of you have your favorites. There’s the one that every campaign manager should know, and I quote, he actually said it today, “Polls are like perfume—nice to smell, dangerous to swallow” (Laughter). Especially apt in this room.  But the one that most stays with me is pretty simple.  He said, “There are no hopeless situations, only hopeless people.”

Shimon Peres is someone who believes that despair is a sin and service is a duty.  And, serve is what you have done your entire life—from your early days on the kibbutz, making the desert bloom, and throughout your decades of dedication to Israel.  That’s the spirit in which Shimon Peres has worked with every American president since John F. Kennedy.  That’s how he’s earned admirers the world over.  And that’s why he remains so committed to advancing the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, including through his meeting with President Abbas and Pope Francis at the Vatican this month.

Mr. President, you set an example for us all.  And so, we too will stay true to the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.  Because ultimately, the only path out of this tragic conflict is a secure, democratic, Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable, independent Palestinian state (Applause).

Tonight as well, all of our hearts are hurting for the three Israeli students who were kidnapped in the West Bank, one of whom, as you all know, is also an American.  President Obama and all of us in the U.S. government are deeply concerned.  We have offered every assistance, and, as parents—in my case of a sixteen year old boy—we all feel this very personally.  So, we pray for their safe return and for the strength for their families through this agonizing vigil.  And, continued cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians is also critical—both to ensure that the search succeeds and to prevent the situation in the West Bank from further destabilizing.

One might argue that these are difficult days.  But there are no hopeless situations, only hopeless people—and President Peres reminds us never to count ourselves among them.  What counts is working to bend history in the direction of hope.

So, in the book that I know as Psalms, and that many of you know as Tehillim, Moses beseeches the Lord, quote, “establish thou the works of our hands upon us.”  Many of us were raised on that prayer, though some of you learned it in the original.  And I hear in it not only a cry to heaven, but a call to action here on earth.  That’s a call you have answered, Mr. President, every day of your life.  And, we are all inspired by the work to which you have put your able hands.  This room is full of people deeply moved by your service, your courage, and your determination to pursue progress, security, and peace.

So, tonight, we celebrate the next chapter in the life of Shimon Peres.  We join you in recommitting ourselves to the cause of peace.  And, together, we ask for that ancient blessing:  Establish thou the works of our hands, oh Lord.  On behalf of President Obama and all of your friends here in the United States, we wish you, like Moses, “Ad meyah v’essreem!”  May you live to 120! (Laughter) Thank you.

Israel Political Brief June 25, 2014: President Shimon Peres meets with President Barack Obama at the White House Oval Office

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

President Peres meets with President Obama

Source: MFA, 6-25-14

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“I thank you for your friendship to the State of Israel and the Jewish people – under your leadership our strategic relations have reached new heights.”
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President Peres meets with President Obama

  President Peres meets with President Obama

Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 22, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting Updating on the Search for the Three Abducted Teens

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 6-22-14
יום ראשון כ”ד סיון תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“Over the weekend I met with the parents of the abducted youths. I promised them that we are doing, and will do, everything to bring the abducted boys home safely. We are in the midst of a continuing and focused effort to – first of all – bring the boys home.  This effort entails a certain friction with the civilian population in Judea and Samaria; we have no intention of deliberately harming anyone but our forces are acting as necessary for self-defense and from time to time there are victims or casualties on the Palestinian side as a result of the self-defense actions of our soldiers.

We are focusing on returning the abductees, on finding the kidnappers and on striking at the organization to which they belong. We have unequivocal proof that this is Hamas. We are sharing this proof and information to this effect with several countries. Soon this information will be made public. I think that at that time Abu Mazen’s remarks in Saudi Arabia will be put to the test in practice. His remarks will be tested not only by actions to return the boys home but by his willingness to dissolve the unity government with Hamas, which abducted the youths and calls for the destruction of Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 15, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting Blaming Hamas for Three Kidnapped Teens in the West Bank

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

יום ראשון י”ז סיון תשע”ד

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“This morning I can say what I was unable to say yesterday before the extensive wave of arrests of Hamas members in Judea and Samaria.

Those who perpetrated the abduction of our youths were members of Hamas – the same Hamas that Abu Mazen made a unity government with; this has severe repercussions.

We are currently focusing all of our efforts on bringing the abductees back home. Before coming here, I spoke again with the families, and I embrace and encourage them from here, from the Cabinet table, and I know that I speak for all parts of the nation.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 15, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement regarding the kidnapping of Israeli teenagers by Hamas

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PM Netanyahu’s statement regarding the kidnapping of Israeli teenagers by Hamas

Source: MFA, 6-15-14

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​Israel will act against the kidnappers and their terrorist sponsors and comrades. We will do whatever needs to be done to protect our people, our citizens, our children and our teenagers from the scourge of terrorism.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Sunday, 15 June 2014), issued the following statement:
“Hamas terrorists carried out Thursday’s kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers. We know that for a fact. These teenagers were kidnapped and the kidnapping was carried out by Hamas members. Hamas denials do not change this fact. And this attack should surprise no one because Hamas makes no secret of its agenda. Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel and to carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians – including children.
Instead of abiding by his international obligation to disarm Hamas, President Abbas has chosen to make Hamas his partner. Israel holds the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas responsible for any attacks against Israel that emanate from Palestinian-controlled territory. The Palestinian claim that the Palestinian Authority cannot be held responsible for an attack that took place in an area under Israeli security control is patently absurd.
When an attack takes place in Tel Aviv or in London or in New York – all these places have been attacked by terrorists – the question is not where the attack takes place. The question is where it originated. The kidnappers in this case set out from territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and the PA cannot absolve itself of its responsibility.
You remember that Israel warned the international community about the dangers of endorsing the Fatah-Hamas unity pact. I believe that the dangers of that pact now should be abundantly clear to all. We have seen since the signing of that pact an increase in terrorist activity emanating from the West Bank. We have seen Hamas strengthen its presence there, and this increases the likelihood that Hamas will take control of the Palestinian Authority, precisely as it did in Gaza. This will not advance peace; it will advance terror.
Israel will act in all ways under its province, in all ways under our control, to bring home the three kidnapped teenagers. Israel will act against the kidnappers and their terrorist sponsors and comrades. We will do whatever needs to be done to protect our people, our citizens, our children and our teenagers from the scourge of terrorism.
Thank you.”

Full Text Israel Brief June 15, 2014: Three teens kidnapped by Hamas terror organization in Gush Etzion

ISRAEL BRIEF

ISRAEL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Source: MFA, 6-13-14

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Contact lost with three teenagers in the Gush Etzion area. Israel holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for the well-being of the missing.
The names of the missing yeshiva students have been released for publication. They are: Gilad Sha’er (16), Naftali Frankel (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19).
Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'er and Naftali Frankel

At approximately 17:30 Israel time (June 13, 2014), the IDF Spokesman released a special announcement:

“During the night, contact was lost with three teenagers in the Gush Etzion area [of the West Bank]. The security forces are acting to locate the missing youths and extensive searches are being conducted at this time in the area.”

The three Israeli teenagers, all yeshiva students, were last seen late Thursday night in the area of Gush Etzion. Forces are conducting a widespread operation in order to locate them.

IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz said the current mission is to bring the three Israeli teenagers home safely and as soon as possible. “We are concentrating all of our intelligence efforts on trying to track down the missing individuals.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hold a security assessment of the situation, at his Tel Aviv office, at the Defense Ministry, with the participation of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and the ISA. The Prime Minister previously held a security consultation at his Jerusalem office with the participation of Defense Minister Yaalon and Public Security Minister Aharonovitch.

Israel holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for the well-being of the missing.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry and told him that Abu Mazen was responsible for the well-being of the missing. The Prime Minister added that what has been happening on the ground since Hamas’ entry into the Palestinian government is destructive and the result of the entry of a murderous terrorist organization into the government.

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 13, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Speaks with US Secretary of State John Kerry about the kidnappings and Hamas-Fatah Unity Government

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PM Netanyahu Speaks with US Secretary of State John Kerry

Source: PMO, 6-13-14
יום שישי ט”ו סיון תשע”ד

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry and told him that Abu Mazen was responsible for the well-being of the missing. The Prime Minister added that what has been happening on the ground since Hamas’ entry into the Palestinian government is destructive and the result of the entry of a murderous terrorist organization into the goverrnment.

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 15, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President-elect Reuven Rivlin

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ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Source: MFA, 6-11-14

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PM Netanyahu: We have gone through much together and I am certain that we will now know to put the less good aspects aside and work responsibly for the future of the State of Israel.
President-elect Rivlin with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem

Copyright: GPO/Mark Neiman

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Wednesday, 11 June 2014), at his official residence in Jerusalem, met with President-elect Reuven Rivlin and congratulated him on being elected to the office.
At the end of their meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We have known each other for several good decades. We are both from Jerusalem, the sons of professors who were educated in the philosophy of Jabotinsky and we have much more in common – such as our football team. Joint work on behalf of all Israelis is before us. We have gone through much together and I am certain that we will now know to put the less good aspects aside and work responsibly for the future of the State of Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 10, 2014: US President Barack Obama’s Statement on the Presidential Election in Israel

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Statement by the President on the Presidential Election in Israel

Source: WH, 6-10-14 

The people of the United States join me in offering Reuven Rivlin congratulations on his election as the next President of the State of Israel.

Over more than six decades, the United States and Israel have developed a unique relationship based on shared democratic values, our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our partnership in scientific research and innovative technology.  President-elect Rivlin has a long and dedicated record of public service and we look forward to continued strong ties, to the benefit of both our nations, under Mr. Rivlin’s presidency.

As President Shimon Peres nears the end of his term, he can look back on a remarkable legacy of courage, conviction, and compassion.  He has dedicated his extraordinary life to the cause of peace, and I look forward to welcoming him in Washington later this month where he will receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

Israel Political Brief June 10, 2014: Reuven Rivlin is elected Israel’s 10th president

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ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Reuven Rivlin is elected Israel’s 10th president

Source: Haaretz, 6-10-14

MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) was elected Israel’s 10th president on Tuesday, receiving the support of 63 Knesset members in a runoff vote against MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnuah)….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 8, 2014: Netanyahu: Unity deal gives Hamas foothold in West Bank

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Netanyahu: Unity deal gives Hamas foothold in West Bank

Source: Jerusalem Post , 6-8-14

Rather than moderating Hamas, there are increasing signs that the Palestinian unity government pact is helping the Gaza-based Islamist organization gain strength in the West Bank, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the opening of Sunday’s …READ MORE

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