Netanyahu - Marc Israel Sellem - 09102011
Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting last week. Photo by Marc Israel Sellem
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel had no choice but to retaliate when faced with attack, and would stop "every attempt to fire against Israel and anyone who fires anyway".

Netanyahu told ministers gathered for a special cabinet session in Safed that Israel's defense policy was based on two principles: "Kill or be killed" and "He who harms you should bear the blood on his head".

"I suggest Hamas, Jihad and the other organizations not test our determination to actualize the two principles I have described here," said Netanyahu. "We will harm every attempt to fire against Israel and anyone who fires anyway. We are not tempestuous and we do not want things to deteriorate, but we will defend Israel's citizens determinedly, aggressively and effectively."

Netanyahu made his remarks shortly after Islamic Jihad said it would accept an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire if Israel agreed to halt its "aggression" against Gaza.

Just a few hours later, the Israel Air Force struck a militant cell apparently poised to launch rockets at Israel. One militant was killed in that attack, said Palestinians.

Nine other Palestinian gunmen and an Israeli civilian have been killed since the cross-border violence resumed last week.