Netanyahu - Ch. 10 - March 23, 2011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to reporters before boarding a flight to Russia on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Photo by Channel 10
Text size

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel will react firmly, responsibly and wisely to a recent wave of Palestinian violence.

"The government, the Israel Defense Forces, and the Israeli public has an iron will to defend the country and its citizens," Netanyahu said before boarding a flight to Russia.

"Israel will act firmly, responsibly and wisely to preserve the quiet and security that prevailed here over the past two years," he assured.

Netanyahu issued his statement just hours after a bomb killed a 59-year-old woman at a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem. Earlier Wednesday, southern Israel was bombarded by Palestinian rockets and mortar fire.

"We have established a clear policy regarding security issues – a resolute reaction to every attempt to hurt our citizens and systematic, resolute preventative steps against terror," he said.

Netanyahu said he spent the evening huddled with top security officials to discuss the situation.

He spoke to reporters just before boarding a flight to Russia, where he said he would discuss Israel's security situation with the country's leaders.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in reaction to the bombing, threatened retaliation against Hamas.

"We will not tolerate the harming of Israeli citizens, not in the south and not in Jerusalem," Barak said. "Hamas is responsible for the firing of rockets toward Be'er Sheva today and this responsibility has a price."

President Shimon Peres also commented on Wednesday's bombing in Jerusalem and the rocket attack on Be'er Sheva, saying that he has confidence in the Israel Defense Forces' ability to stop terror attacks.

"I am confident in the power of the IDF and security forces to sever the hand that is trying to hurt our citizens and that they will be able to put an end to the atrocious attack," said Peres. "I am proud of the resilience of our citizens who are showing courage and decisiveness, and I wish a quick recovery to those hurt, also in Be'er Sheva."