At his first press conference since the 72-hour cease-fire began, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told foreign journalists Wednesday that the goal of the operation was and remains the protection of Israeli civilians.
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The war was "justified," Netanyahu said. "It was proportionate."
Hamas is a world problem just like ISIS and Boko Haram, Netanyahu said, and must be ostracized from the family of nations.
"It's important to understand what kind of condition our forces were facing in Gaza," Netanyahu said, after showing videos of rockets launched from residential areas in Gaza. "That is an example again of the use of civilians" by Hamas.
"Now that the members of the press are leaving Gaza and are no longer subject to Hamas retribution, I expect [more examples] of terrorists hiding behind civilian targets," he said.
"Israel deeply regrets every civilian casualty," he said. "We do not target them The tragedy of Gaza is that it is ruled by Hamas. They want civilian casualties, they use them as PR fodder.
"Indeed, Hamas has adopted a strategy that uses and sacrifices Gaza's civilians. They fire rockets from schools, mosques, urban neighborhoods, right next to schools, right next to where journalists are staying," he added.