In a public press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the nation and declared that while the IDF achieved its mission objectives in Gaza, Hamas did not achieve any of its demands.
“Hamas suffered its greatest blow since the organization’s founding,” stated Netanyahu.
He also stressed that the recent conflict had isolated Hamas in the international community which supported Israel in fifty days of fighting the terrorist organization.
“Moderate forces in the Middle East bring new diplomatic opportunities, a new horizon for Israel,” said Netanyahu.
Netanyahu stated that Israel had from the start of Operation Protective Edge, accepted every Egyptian-proposed cease-fire unconditionally while Hamas made its compliance dependent on having its demands met.
“Hamas did not achieve any of its demands,” the prime minister stated.
“They [Hamas] demanded a sea port and did not achieve this; they demanded an airport and did not achieve this; they demanded the release of prisoners placed back under arrest following the murder of the three murdered Israeli boys; they demanded monetary compensation and salaries which they did not receive; they demanded that negotiations be conducted by Turkey or Qatar and this they did not get,” declared Netanyahu.
Netanyahu went on to state that Israel’s mission in Gaza was clear, “To hit Hamas hard, and to bring prolonged peace to the people of Israel. Hamas was indeed hit hard.” Netanyahu went on to state that the army needed to put boots in Gaza to achieve this.
“A thousand Hamas terrorists were killed, many of them commanders. Thousands of rocket arsenals, launch sites and weapons caches were destroyed along with hundreds of command centers,” said Netanyahu.
“After the mission was achieved, the soldiers were pulled out to prevent Hamas from having the opportunity to inflict casualties or carry out kidnappings of soldiers,” said Netanyahu.
The prime minister stressed that the implications of the operation in Gaza and the consequent negotiations in Cairo proved to Hamas that its strategy of violence and war was an expensive one which did not achieve any of its goals.
The prime minister went on to acknowledge the unity and support shown by the Israeli nation in fifty days of fighting. “They [Hamas] did not realize how strong and united our nation is. It’s wonderful.” He also acknowledged the diligent work of both the Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
Ya’alon went on stage following the prime minister’s remarks and said that the responsibility lay in the hands of Israel to protect the citizens of the South, who have been hardest hit during the seven-week long war with Gaza.
Gaza, he said, does not look like it did 51 days ago “and when the dust settles Hamas will realize that it has gained no achievements.”
He did acknowledge however that “we live in the Middle East and we may have to return to the battlefield, and if we do, we will pound Hamas in the same way we did during this operation.”
Israel accepted an open ended cease-fire on Tuesday, after 50 days of fighting and several previously failed cease-fires.
Shortly after the cease-fire went into effect, Palestinians poured onto Gaza’s streets to celebrate “victory,” while in Israel government representatives spoke of a feeling of an opportunity missed, along with cautious optimism that as a result of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas’s control of Gaza has been dealt a fatal blow.
via The Jerusalem Post