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Thursday, July 31, 2014
PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting: neutralization of tunnels only first stage in demilitarization of Gaza Strip

PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Thursday, 31 July 2014), made the
following remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting:

"The IDF is continuing to act with full force across the Gaza Strip. IDF
soldiers are completing the neutralization of the terrorist tunnels. These
tunnels would have enabled Hamas to abduct and murder civilians and IDF
soldiers via simultaneous attacks from many tunnels that penetrate our
territory. We are now dismantling this ability.

I said at the start of the campaign: There is no guarantee of 100% success,
just as Iron Dome does not provide a complete answer, but the IDF actions
have impressive results in the field and these actions are continuing at
full strength even now.

As of now, we have neutralized dozens of terrorist tunnels and we are
determined to complete this mission, with or without a ceasefire, and
therefore I will not agree to any proposal that does not allow the IDF to
complete this work which is important for the security of Israel's citizens.

Hamas has taken harsh blows from the IDF and ISA. We have struck hard at
thousands of terrorist targets: Command centers, rocket arsenals, production
facilities, launch areas and hundreds of terrorists have been killed. These
achievements and the neutralization of the tunnels are only the first stage
in the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. The US, the EU and other
important elements in the international community have accepted our position
and I must say that this was not an easy thing to achieve but we did it
together, with hard work.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to the soldiers and commanders
of the IDF who are fighting in the field with extraordinary heroism. I would
like to express special appreciation to IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny
Gantz and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.

We are working around the clock, shoulder to shoulder, sagaciously and
responsibly, for the people of Israel. Naturally, we cannot share with the
public all of the information and all of the considerations at our disposal.
We have an orderly plan and we are acting accordingly.

On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to send condolences to the
bereaved families. I speak with them daily, with the parents and family
members who have sacrificed what is most precious to them on behalf of our
country. I have spoken with dozens of families. My wife and our sons have
visited many families as well. I tell them with a heavy heart that their
sons have fallen in the most just of campaigns guarding our common home.

I would like to say to the citizens of Israel: You serve as examples. Your
resilience in the face of our enemies is impressive. It causes deep
appreciation around the world. I must say that your strong stand is a
national force multiplier that enables us to conduct this campaign in a
sagacious and responsible manner, in a way that will give the best possible
results for the State of Israel and its people.

A unified leadership is important for the success of the campaign and it is
very important for the people of Israel. Unity among the people gives us the
strength to continue our hard and responsible work. I have no doubt that
this unity provides additional strength to our soldiers who are fighting on
the ground. And yet there is a minority among the public which, precisely at
these times, chooses to take a more extreme position on this or that side. I
say to you: Do not harm the special unity that we have. Mind your words and
be careful with your deeds. And, more than anything, government ministers
must serve as personal examples for the public at large. At this time, the
nation expects all of us, especially government ministers, to unite behind
the goal. When our soldiers are fighting the enemy and endangering their
lives on behalf of us all, we owe them this. The more we are united, the
stronger we are."

Following the remarks by Defense Minister Yaalon and IDF Chief-of-Staff
Gantz, Prime Minister Netanyahu added: "The IDF is a moral army without
peer. It is vigorously fighting an enemy whose brutality is without peer. It
tries, as much as possible, to avoid harming civilians. We in the leadership
think about the soldiers. Every IDF soldier is precious to us. At this time,
on behalf of the entire government and people of Israel, I would like to
send my best wishes for a quick recovery to the wounded. We know your
bravery and your desire to rejoin your comrades. I have visited some of
them. Right now, their doctors are their commanders but we know that they
are led by the spirit of the entire nation."

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