Netanyahu Responds to Critics for Accepting Ceasefire with Hamas

August 28, 2014

4 min read

In a speech made at the Prime Minister’s residence on Wednesday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to assuage criticism for accepting the current ceasefire which has poured in from all corners of the country.

Many news articles, social media outlets, and blog posts have strongly criticized Netanyahu for what they see as a capitulation to terrorism and a failure to achieve the goals of Operation Protective Edge in ensuring security for Israel’s citizens.

Israelis living in the Gaza Belt feel reluctant to return to their homes, unwilling to accept assurances of the Israeli government and army. Southern residents are claiming that the government has not created enough of a deterrent to prevent Hamas from firing more rockets into Israeli population centers.

Netanyahu responded to his critics by saying that the ceasefire is both “a major military achievement, as well as a major diplomatic achievement for the State of Israel. Hamas was hit hard and it did not receive even a single one of the conditions that it set for a ceasefire, not even one.”

Netanyahu continued to say that it was the security of the citizens of Israel which guided the choices that he made during the seven-week-long operation, and that the operation achieved its set goals.

“The security of Israel’s citizens and this is what guided my colleagues – Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz – and I during each stage of Operation Protective Edge. The goal was to strike hard at Hamas and the terrorist organizations and in so doing bring prolonged quiet to all Israeli citizens. The blow that Hamas has now taken is unprecedented since it was founded, a very hard blow,” the prime minister stated.

Diplomatically, Netanyahu said that Hamas did not receive a single one of their demands.  The demands that Hamas set, which the prime minister listed, included the creation of a seaport and airport; the release of terrorists re-arrested in June during Operation Brothers Keeper; Qatari and Turkish mediation; and the rehabilitation of institutions that had been dissolved in Judea and Samaria.


Netanyahu also claimed a victory on the international level stating that Hamas was alienated internationally like never before. The prime minister attributed a major part of the success to Israel’s ability in getting the message across that the true goal of Operation Protective Edge was the demilitarization of the Gaza strip and of Hamas.

While Netanyahu said that it is too early to tell if Israel will succeed in its goal of achieving long-term quiet, the prime minister remained optimistic. “The regional change of moderate forces in the Middle East is creating a possible diplomatic horizon for the State of Israel. I think that it contains within it new possibilities for our country,” he said. “We will certainly try to advance these possibilities in a responsible and prudent manner as we have done up until now.”

Netanyahu said that he believed that two things surprised Hamas during the conflict – the sheer strength of Israel’s response and the unity of the citizens of Israel.

“It [Hamas] thought that it could wear us down… I would like to take this opportunity to say that if it [Hamas] resumes firing, we will not tolerate sporadic firing at any part of the State of Israel and how we have responded up until now – we will respond with even greater strength. We are prepared for any possibility,” he warned.

An Israeli soldier plays guitar and sings to another soldier who was injured in combat in Gaza, as he recovers at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikvah, July 29, 2014. (Photo: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)
An Israeli soldier plays guitar and sings to another soldier who was injured in combat in Gaza, as he recovers at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikvah, July 29, 2014. (Photo: Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

“I must say that it [Hamas] simply did not correctly appreciate the unity and strength of the people, and it is a splendid unity. It is the unity of civilian volunteers who helped the heroic IDF soldiers by sending packages, going to every point in person, of the rescue and voluntary organizations such as Magen David Adom and the other organizations, of the kibbutz movement that hosted residents of the south, of the local council heads who also volunteered to do this, and of ordinary citizens who went from place to place including hospitals to help our wounded heroic soldiers.

Netanyahu ended off by recognizing the sacrifice of the soldiers, both those who were killed in combat as well as those who were injured in the fighting. To them and their families he sent his blessings.

“I would like to send my best wishes for a quick and complete recovery to our wounded soldiers. I visited them, not all of them, but as many as I could, and I was impressed by their strength of spirit. I was impressed by the public’s and their families’ great love for them. Everyone of them is dear to me just as every one of our fallen soldiers is dear to me. And to their families, I know their loss and the depth of their pain and sorrow, to the families this evening I say the words that we read a few weeks ago in the haftarah from the prophet Isaiah;  ‘Comfort you, comfort you, My people.’ And comfort may be taken in the strong and united nation that stands here on it land, the Land of Israel, and which is determined to defend our state, the State of Israel, with your support, with your splendid unity. We acted just as we promised all through the operation – with level-headedness and responsibility, with foresight broad enough to ensure your security, citizens of Israel.”

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