Rebuilding the Gaza Strip is in Israel’s interest, but only if it stops being a base for attacks against this country, President Reuven Rivlin said Monday at a state ceremony in Jerusalem honoring the soldiers and civilians killed in Operation Protective Edge, which began one year ago.
“We are not a people of war, but if we are fated to take up arms, we will not hesitate to do so,” Rivlin said to attendees at Mount Herzl military cemetery.
“The State of Israel will not accept a situation in which our towns are subjected to repeated and ongoing attacks. When there is no fire towards Sderot, Nahal Oz, Nir Banim, Ashdod or Ashkelon, there will be no fire towards the Gaza Strip,” Rivlin said.
“The rehabilitation and rebuilding of Gaza is an Israeli interest, with the sole condition that Gaza ceases to be a front to carry out attacks against Israel. Only the eradication of terror will bring an end to the killing of innocents on both sides,” the president said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s mission in Gaza will not be complete until the bodies of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin, which were never found, are returned. He said this was “a fundamental human obligation to them and their families.”
Netanyahu added, “Our sons went out to fight a difficult war with the love of the people and the country beating in their hearts, along with a deep belief in the justice of our cause. We do not rejoice in battle but we will not hesitate to defend our country. There is bloody chaos raging in the Middle East and it’s gradually intensifying. Facing it is a brave, strong and moral nation. We aspire to peace, but are prepared to defend ourselves, our children and our future.”