Full Text Israel Political Brief January 13, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting on Evacuation of Palestinians from E-1 Corridor

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

Source: PMO, 1-13-13

יום ראשון ב’ שבט תשע”ג

Photo by GPO

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

“I would like to praise the Israel Police, with the support of the IDF, for its rapid and determined operation to evacuate the Palestinian gathering in the area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim. As soon as I was updated on the Palestinian gathering, I ordered its immediate evacuation and it was indeed carried out last night in the best possible manner. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, I would like to thank you and Israel Police Commissioner Inspector-General Yohanan Danino on the excellent operation; I am certain that to the degree that it will yet be necessary to watch over the area, you will do so as effectively as possible. We will not allow anyone to harm the contiguity between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim.

Over the weekend, somebody criticized my government over the investments we made in security. Indeed, in contrast to governments that invested billions in the disengagement, we invested billions in building up our strength so as to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens. We invested and we will continue to invest in Iron Dome, which stopped the missiles, in the security fence in the south, which stopped the infiltrators, in cybersecurity and in the offensive and defensive capabilities of the IDF, Mossad and ISA.

These capabilities have already found expression in various areas, including during Operation Pillar of Defense, which was conducted responsibly and wisely and which achieved its goals. It is no coincidence that the security situation in the country is the best it has been in years and this is in the face of the great security upheaval around us and in our region. I would like to commend the ministers who dealt with the issue and the government for backing the important operations to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens.”

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Israel Political Brief November 27, 2012: PMO Director-General Harel Locker Tours Communities in the Area Adjacent to the Gaza Strip and Ashdod

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PMO Dir.-Gen. Harel Locker Tours Communities in the Area Adjacent to the Gaza Strip and Ashdod

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Harel Locker, who was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to head the Government team on ensuring that the needs of the residents and communities that were affected by Operation Pillar of Defense are dealt with quickly, today toured communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip and Ashdod.

The team’s work in the days since the conclusion of the operation was presented at the discussion that PMO Dir.-Gen. Locker held today with the heads of the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip (Sderot and the Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev, Sdot Negev and Ashkelon Coast regional councils) and senior officials from the relevant Government ministries, at the Eshkol Regional Council offices. He noted that in addition to the immediate response by the tax authorities regarding compensation for direct damages, the Knesset Finance Committee today approved directives on compensation for indirect damages (loss of work days and compensation for businesses). As per Prime Minister Netanyahu’s instructions, an outline for quicker-than-usual compensation was formulated and approved. Locker also said that a preliminary NIS 15 million aid package has been approved for local authorities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. In education, a plan is currently being formulated on restoring lost classroom hours; the emotional needs of children and young people are also being met. The team also discussed ways to encourage commercial activity and tourism in the area.

Locker underscored the great importance of assisting area residents and local councils and asked all Government ministries to continue joining in the effort. “The fact that we are meeting for the second time within a few days expresses our commitment to the residents and communities of the south. We must work to quickly normal life,” he said.

In his meeting with Ashdod Mayor Dr. Yehiel Lasri and senior municipality officials, and after visiting a building that took a direct hit by a rocket, Locker said, “The directive from the Prime Minister, on whose behalf I have come here today, is to work for the welfare of the residents of the area and deal with the problems that have arisen since the operation in a generous, efficient and rapid manner and in a way that minimizes the bureaucratic process. There is no doubt that the strength of the city of Ashdod stems from the national resilience of its residents, as well as from the defense afforded by Iron Dome and other protective measures. Naturally, we will continue to assist in its development, economic prosperity and excellent functioning.”

The work of PMO Dir.-Gen. Locker’s team follows up on recent Government decisions such as those to approve full protection for all communities 4.5-7 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, to approve an allocation of NIS 7.6 million in order to complete the financing of building protected daycare centers in communities with 0-7 kilometers from the Gaza Strip and to approve economic benefits for Sderot and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip for 2013. These decisions complete the strategy of national resilience in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip: A combination of diplomatic, security and civilian components that strengthens the fortitude of the residents and councils in the area.

Israel Political Brief November 27, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Southern Israel Local Council Heads

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PM Netanyahu Meets with Southern Local Council Heads

Source: PMO, 11-27-12

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, yesterday evening, at his Jerusalem residence, met with local council heads from the south of the country and told them: “The IDF acted with strength, and as soon as the operation’s goals were achieved – we ended it. We will continue to closely monitor the situation to see to it that the quiet is maintained. If it is violated, the IDF is ready to respond strongly. I salute the residents of the south. Their resilience enabled us to achieve the goals that we set.”

Be’er Sheva Mayor Rubik Danilovich, at the start of the meeting, said, “This operation has a prominent achievement – Israel’s strong home front.”

Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Hare Locker, who was appointed by Prime Minister Netanyahu to head the Government team on ensuring that the needs of the residents and communities that were affected by Operation Pillar of Defense are dealt with quickly, said that in addition to the immediate response by the tax authorities regarding compensation for direct damages, the Knesset Finance Committee yesterday approved directives on compensation for indirect damages (loss of work days and compensation for businesses). Moreover, a preliminary NIS 15 million aid package has been approved for local authorities to cover expenses stemming from the security situation.

The following local council heads attended the meeting: Abu-Basma Regional Council Chairman Rahamim Yona, Ofakim Mayor Zvika Greengold, Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri, Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin, Be’er Tuvia Regional Council Chairman Dror Shor, Be’er Sheva Mayor Rubik Danilovich, Bnei Ayish Mayor Mark Bassin, Bnei Shimon Regional Council Chairman Sigal Moran, Gan Yavne Mayor Dror Aharon, Hevel Yavneh Regional Council Chairman Eliezer Benfeld, Hof Ashkelon Regional Council Chairman Yair Firjean, Lachish Regional Council Chairman Danny Morviya, Nahal Sorek Regional Council Chairman Eli Escosido, Omer Mayor Pini Badash, Rahat Mayor Fayez Abu Dahiban, Ramat Hanegev Regional Council Chairman Shmulik Lipman, Sderot Mayor David Buskila, Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council Chairman Alon Shuster and Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Tzur.

Israel Political Brief November 22, 2012: Israel warns of tougher operation if truce agreement violated

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Israel warns of tougher operation if truce agreement violated

Source: Xinhua, 11-22-12

An Israeli minister said Thursday that Hamas can expect an aggravated military response in the event that it or other militant groups in the Gaza Strip resume rocket attacks on Israel….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 22, 2012: IDF reservists released after Gaza operation: ‘We’ll be back’

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IDF reservists released after Gaza op: ‘We’ll be back’

 Source: YNet News, 11-22-12

הביתה. שמחה מהולה בתחושת החמצה (צילום: רועי עידן)

Soldiers recruited during Operation Pillar of Defense disappointed that IDF ‘didn’t get to finish the job’

The army began releasing on Thursday tens of thousands of reserve soldiers who were recruited under emergency orders during Operation Pillar of Defense.

Some of the soldiers were disappointed by the fact that the operation was cut short and they were not given the chance to “complete the mission,” as one soldier put it, while others said it is just a matter of time before they are called up again….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: 12 rockets fired on Israel since cease-fire truce takes effect

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12 rockets fired on Israel since truce takes effect

Source: YNet News, 11-21-12 

Twelve rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel since 9 pm, when a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza was set to take effect.

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: Text of Ceasefire Agreement Between Israel & Hamas

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Text of Ceasefire Agreement

The partial text of the ceasefire agreement as reported by news agencies.
Source: INN, 11-21-12

This is the partial text of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, as brokered by Egypt and the U.S. and reported by AFP.

“Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.

“All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

“Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas. Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

“Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.”

“Implementation mechanism.

“Setting up the zero hour understanding to enter into effect.

“Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

“Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt as a sponsor of this understanding, shall be informed to follow up.”

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: I’m Giving Ceasefire a Chance before Using Greater Force

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Bibi: I’m Giving Ceasefire a Chance before Using Greater Force

According to Egyptian foreign minister, ceasefire will go into force at 9:00 p.m. Netanyahu’s statement leaves room for resumed fighting.
Source: INN, 11-21-12

According to the latest reports from Cairo and Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday evening and asked him to agree to abide by a ceasefire with Hamas.

The terms of the ceasefire are not yet known in full….READ MORE

Israel Brief November 21, 2012: President Barack Obama Hails Ceasefire Agreement

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President Obama Hails Ceasefire Agreement

Source: News One, 11-21-12

President Barack Obama is hailing a ceasefire agreement to end a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement at Press Conference with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense – Operation Pillar of Defense – Cease-Fire

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement at November 21 Press Conference with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense  – Operation Pillar of Defense – Cease-Fire

Source: PMO, 11-21-12

Photo by GPO

“Citizens of Israel,

Eight days ago, Israel embarked on operation Pillar of Defense. The Government decided to launch the operation after the frequency of the terror attacks originating from Gaza increased over the last few months. I announced that we would respond forcibly to these attacks when we see fit. I said that we would exact a heavy price from the terror organizations.

The terror organizations assumed that we would avoid offensive action against them; they were wrong. We hit their senior commanders, we destroyed thousands of rockets which were aimed towards the South and most of those aimed towards central Israel, and we crushed Hamas’ control facilities. I must say that we did this with the strong support of the leading authorities of the international community.

In particular, I wish to thank President Obama for his resolute support for Israel’s actions, for this operation and for Israel’s right to defend itself. I also thank him for supporting the Iron Dome systems. I thank Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and express my gratitude to the Egyptians for their efforts in achieving this cease-fire.

In a phone call I had this evening with President Obama, I agreed with him that we should give the cease-fire a chance in order to enable a lull in the situation and allow for the citizens of Israel to return to routine. However, Israel obviously cannot sit idly while our enemy reinforces itself with weapons of terror. Therefore we decided, President Obama and myself, that the United States and Israel would work together to fight the smuggling of weapons to the terror organizations – weapons, virtually all of which come from Iran.

From the day the State of Israel was established, it has had to deal with complex challenges in the Middle East, and we can all see that these challenges have become even more complex in the last few years. Under these conditions we are required to navigate this ship, the State of Israel, wisely and responsibly while taking into account all considerations – military and political alike. This is what a responsible government does, and it is what we did here: we made use of our military might while applying political considerations.

Now, I realize that there are citizens who expect a harsher military action and we may very well need to do that. But at present, the right thing for the State of Israel is to exhaust this possibility of reaching a long-term cease-fire. As Prime Minister, I have the responsibility, and it is the highest responsibility, to make the right steps to ensure our security. That is what I have done and it is what I will continue to do.

During the last week, Israel has lost several victims. On behalf of the entire population, I send condolences to the families, and wish the wounded a speedy recovery.

I would like to thank my colleagues, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. We worked together as a team, in full agreement. I also thank the Nine-Member Ministerial Forum, the Cabinet and the Government, for working – each in its field of responsibility – for the citizens of Israel. I also appreciate the factions of the Opposition and the factions in Knesset for standing with us and proclaiming their support.

I thank the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the Chief of Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, the Director of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, and all of their people for their exceptional efforts in reaching our accomplishments in Pillar of Defense. On behalf of the people of Israel, I thank the IDF commanders and soldiers, the pilots, the Iron Dome operators and developers, the members of the intelligence services, all the members of the security services and to the reservists, who left their families and immediately signed up for duty.

I appreciate the mayors and heads of regional councils for displaying leadership and level-headedness at the Home Front, and above all – I salute you, the citizens of Israel. We have a strong army; we have a strong people. I am proud to by your Prime Minister

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: Hillary Clinton Announces Israel-Hamas Ceasefire

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Hillary Clinton Announces Israel-Hamas Ceasefire

Hillary Clinton Announces Israel-Hamas Ceasefire. Secretary of state says that there’s “no substitute for a just and lasting peace….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: Israel and Hamas reach a cease-fire

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Israel and Hamas reach a cease-fire

Source: JTA, 11-21-12

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is set to begin at 9 p.m. local time….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: At least 116 rockets strike Israel on operation’s eighth day

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At least 116 rockets strike Israel on operation’s eighth day

Source: JTA, 11-21-12

At least 116 rockets struck southern Israel on the eighth day of the country’s Operation Pillar of Defense against terrorists in Gaza….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: 1,408 Missiles in 8 Days Fired by Gaza at Israel

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1,408 Missiles in 8 Days Fired by Gaza at Israel

As the 8-day holiday of Hanukkah approaches, Israel marks the eighth day of Operation Pillar of Defense by counting the missiles fired.

Source: INN, 11-21-12

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorists and affiliated terrorist groups have fired 1,408 missiles and rockets at Israel since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, eight days ago.

Of those fired, 56 missiles have struck populated areas in Israel, and 412 have been intercepted and shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

They have varied in ranges from the short-range “homemade” Kassam rockets that reach close to 20-25 kilometers (12.5-15 miles), to medium-range Grad Katyusha missiles that reach up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), and now also include the Iranian Fajr-5 missiles, with a range of 75-80 kilometers (45-48 miles)….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Poll shows gap between Republicans and Democrats in backing Israel in Gaza

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Poll shows gap between Republicans and Democrats in backing Israel in Gaza

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

A CNN poll showed a considerable gap between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to backing Israel in the current Gaza conflict.

In the CNN poll published Monday, respondents were asked whether “Israel was justified or unjustified in taking military action against Hamas and the Palestinians in the area known as Gaza.” Among Democrats, 40 percent said Israel was “justified,” compared to 74 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents.

In all, 57 percent of those polled said Israel was justified in launching the operation in the Gaza Strip.The poll, carried out by ORC International in 1,023 phone interviews from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18, has a margin of error of 3 percentage points….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Cairo talks fail to yield cease-fire agreement, expected to continue

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Cairo talks fail to yield cease-fire agreement, expected to continue

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 20, 2012. (Avi Ohayon/ GPO/Flash90)

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nov. 20, 2012. (Avi Ohayon/ GPO/Flash90)

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Makoto Otsuka, director general of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, Japan, with visiting schoolchildren in front of a photo of Anne Frank.–>

Talks between Israel and Hamas negotiated by Egypt have not produced a cease-fire.

The talks in Cairo are expected to stretch into Wednesday, a Hamas official reportedly said late Tuesday night.

A Hamas official had been quoted earlier on Tuesday by Reuters as saying that a cease-fire would go into effect at midnight.

Shortly after the Reuters report appeared Tuesday evening, Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN that an agreement on a cease-fire had not yet been reached….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu & UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Statements Before Their Meeting About Negotiating a Cease-fire

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Statements by PM Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Prime Minister Netanyahu:  Mr. Secretary, welcome to Jerusalem.  You’re always a welcome guest, and I appreciate both your coming here and your statement.  I want to thank you for making it clear that Israel has the right to defend itself.  I want to thank you for your consistent statements condemning the rocket attacks on Israel’s citizens.

I know you’re very concerned about the civilian casualties on both sides.  Well, we share your concern, and that is why, in fighting terror, our military always tries to avoid civilian casualties.  In fact, I’m not sure that there is another military on Earth that goes to such great lengths to keep innocents out of harm’s way.  Israel is, I think, remarkable in that, when you consider the conditions that we’re facing, I think that something almost without parallel in history is taking place.  We’re conducting these surgical operations against terrorists at a time when our own population is being bombarded by rocket attacks.

Unfortunately, Mr. Secretary, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and the other terrorist groups, do not share your concern about our civilian casualties or about civilian casualties at all.  They’re deliberately and indiscriminately targeting our civilians and they deliberately hide behind their civilians.  The terrorists target our children and they use their own children as human shields.  They place explosives, weapons, other destructive weapons of any kind in schools, mosques, hospitals, universities.  Targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians, as you well know is a double war crime.  If we hope to make these tactics illegitimate, they should be condemned in the most forceful terms by all responsible members of the international community.  The moment we draw symmetry between the victims of terror and the unintended casualties that result from legitimate military action against the terrorists, the minute that false symmetry is drawn, the terrorists win.

I know, Mr. Secretary, that you understand this, and I am confident, as always, that you will continue to lend your moral authority to the struggle against terrorism.  Mr. Secretary, no country would tolerate rocket attacks against its cities and against its civilians.  Israel cannot tolerate such attacks.  If a long-term solution can be put in place through diplomatic means, than Israel would be a willing partner to such a solution.  But if stronger military action proves necessary to stop the constant barrage of rockets, Israel will not hesitate to do what is necessary to defend our people.

I look forward to our discussions today, and I hope we can advance a peaceful resolution.

Secretary Ban:  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.  Shalom, ladies and gentlemen.  Todah.

Again, I’d like to thank the Prime Minister for welcoming me to Israel at this time.  Regrettably, I’m back again in the region only nine months since my last visit because of violence in Israel and Gaza, this again requiring our attention, not progressing towards a lasting peace and a two-state solution.  But all this we are truly concerned at the rising loss of human lives.  A further escalation would be dangerous and tragic for Palestinians and Israelis, and would put the entire region at risk.  I’m here to appeal to all to hold fire and restore calm.

Rockets have hit areas just outside of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as Israeli towns near Gaza, killing and injuring civilians.  I myself visited Sderot and these cities, and met many people, and I was able to witness myself how these people were living in fear and terror.  This is unacceptable, irresponsible and reckless.  I strongly condemn these actions.  Rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel must cease immediately.  I know how desperate the situation is here, but Israel must exercise maximum restraint.  I strongly caution against a ground operation which will only result in further tragedy.  I have also stressed that while Israeli rockets may be aimed at military targets inside Gaza, they kill and injure civilians and damage civilian infrastructures.  The loss of civilian lives is unacceptable under any circumstances.  The excessive use of force is unlawful and must be rejected, and I take note of your statement that this military operation was aimed against only military facilities, but still in the course of military operations, the civilians are actually victimized, as we have seen.

My paramount immediate concern is for the safety and well-being of all civilians, in Israel and in Gaza.  Innocent people, including children, are being killed and injured on both sides.  I appeal to all and those commanding, bearing and operating arms, weapons, to respect international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times.  I was here under similar circumstances in early 2009.  It is truly painful for me to be back for the same reason.  This new cycle of bloodshed will make neither Israelis nor Palestinians more secure, nor will bloodshed open the door to negotiations that could achieve a two-state solution necessary to end such violence permanently.  Further escalation benefits no one.  I and all my staff, including Special Coordinator Robert Serry, will spare no effort to put an end to violence and provide humanitarian assistance to those who need it.

Over the past week, Mr. Prime Minister, I have spoken with many international leaders and regional leaders by telephone and in person.  I have come here directly from Cairo, where I met with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby and Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Mohamed Qandil earlier today.  Egypt is a leader in the region, and I was encouraged that the Egyptian authorities are using their contacts on all sides to seek an immediate ceasefire.  I’ve also met Foreign Minister Leiberman and Defense Minister Barak this afternoon since arriving in Jerusalem.  I will be meeting President Peres after our meeting with you this evening, and Palestinian President Abbas tomorrow morning.  I’m here to offer my help and good offices to end the violence and find a path back towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.  The world is watching and waiting.  We have not a moment to lose.

Again, Mr. Prime Minister, I count on your strong leadership while working together with the United Nations for peace and stability and human rights in this region.

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu & US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Remarks / Speech Before Their Meeting to Negotiate a Cease-fire

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Remarks With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Before Their Meeting

Source: State.gov, 11-20-12

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Prime Minister’s Office
Jerusalem
November 20, 2012

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:I want to welcome Secretary Clinton once again to Jerusalem. I want to thank President Obama, you, and the American Government and people for their strong support for Israel in this hour of need. I want to also thank you especially for your support of Iron Dome that’s been saving lives, and we are in a battle to save lives.One of the things that we’re doing is trying to resist and counter a terrorist barrage which is aimed directly at our civilians, and doing so by minimizing civilian casualties, whereas the terrorist enemies of Israel are doing everything in their power to maximize the number of civilian casualties. Obviously, no country can tolerate a wanton attack on its civilians.

Now, if there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that. But if not, I am sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people. This is something that I don’t have to explain to Americans. I know that President Obama, you, and the American people understand that perfectly well.

And I thank you once again for your support. Welcome to Jerusalem.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Prime Minister. I look forward to a productive discussion this evening at such a critical moment for Israel and the region. President Obama asked me to come to Israel with a very clear message: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza.

The rocket attacks from terrorist organizations inside Gaza on Israeli cities and towns must end and a broader calm restored. The goal must be a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike.

President Obama has emphasized these same points in his multiple conversations with President Morsi of Egypt, and we appreciate President Morsi’s personal leadership and Egypt’s efforts thus far. As a regional leader and neighbor, Egypt has the opportunity and responsibility to continue playing a crucial and constructive role in this process. I will carry this message to Cairo tomorrow. I will also be consulting with President Abbas in Ramallah.

Let me also say, to echo the Prime Minister, I am very pleased that the Iron Dome defense system is performing so well. Our partnership in support of this system represents America’s enduring commitment to the safety and security of the Israeli people and to Israel’s right to defend itself.

But no defense is perfect and our hearts break for the loss of every civilian – Israeli and Palestinian – and for all those who have been wounded or who are living in fear and danger. I know today was a difficult day, and I offer my deepest condolences to the loved ones of those who were lost and injured. In the end, there is no substitute for security and for a just and lasting peace, and the current crisis certainly focuses us on the urgency of this broader goal.

So in the days ahead, the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza, and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region. And I thank you, Prime Minister, for your hospitality and look forward to our discussion.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Thank you.

Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Israeli soldier & civilian killed as rockets pound Southern Israel & Jerusalem on seventh day

Israeli soldier, civilian killed as rockets pound Israel for seventh day

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

The Western Wall in Jerusalem is empty of worshipers during an air raid siren indicating a rocket attack from Gaza, Nov. 20, 2012.  (TheKotel.org)
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The Western Wall in Jerusalem is empty of worshipers during an air raid siren indicating a rocket attack from Gaza, Nov. 20, 2012. (TheKotel.org)

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Makoto Otsuka, director general of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, Japan, with visiting schoolchildren in front of a photo of Anne Frank.

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An Israeli soldier and an Israeli civilian were killed in separate rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip….

More than 140 rockets were fired at southern Israel in the seventh day since the beginning of the operation, including two aimed at Jerusalem. Some 56,000 military reservists have been called up since the beginning of the operation.

An air raid siren sounded in Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon; two rockets fell in the Gush Etzion area south of the city. Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets aimed at Jerusalem….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Rockets pound Israel for seventh day

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Rockets pound Israel for seventh day

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

More than 80 rockets were fired at southern Israel in the seventh day since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, including two aimed at Jerusalem….READ MORE

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