Tag Archives: Gaza

Israeli PM Netanyahu blasts UNHC for “anti-Israel obsession”

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Tel Aviv/ Geneva: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday reacted strongly against the UNHC saying “We will not tolerate any hypocritical and false moral sermons against the State of Israel”. 

Netanyahu chided UN Human Rights Council saying its shameful decision is yet another example of it’s blatant anti-Israel obsession.

Once again, an immoral automatic majority at the Council whitewashes a genocidal terrorist organization that deliberately targets Israeli civilians while turning Gaza’s civilians into human shields.

This while depicting as the “guilty party” a democracy acting legitimately to protect its citizens from thousands of indiscriminate rocket attacks. This travesty makes a mockery of international law and encourages terrorists worldwide, Netanyahu has underscored.


The Human Rights Council on Thursday 27 May began its  Special Session on “the Grave Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, Speakers Urged it to Establish an International Commission of Inquiry
Visit newsroom24x7.com and read all about the UNHC special session on the full-fledged war between the democratic State of Israel and Hamas, which is a terrorist organisation that used civilians in Gaza as shield as it fired thousands of rockets targeting Israeli citizens.

The Human Right Council 27 May morning opened its special session on “the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”. 

UNHC heard calls from speakers for the Council to establish an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021.

In her opening remarks, Nazhat Shameem Khan, President of the Human Rights Council, outlining the proposed extraordinary modalities for the session, said these modalities had been defined due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which prohibited public meetings of more than 15 participants, and should not serve as a precedent. 

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said both sides had the right to defend their citizens, and Palestinians had the right to live safely and freely in their homes, something that they were unable to experience due to the Israeli blockade.  The risk of evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem remained high, while the situation in the West Bank was alarming, with Israeli Security Forces killing 10 Palestinians on 14 May – the highest number in one day since the collection of these figures by the United Nations began in 2008. 

The situation inside Israel was concerning: mob attacks took place on individuals in mixed cities of Bat-Yam, Jaffa and Acra, as well as attacks on places of worship instigated by both sides, with Israeli police failing to protect Palestinian citizens.  Despite the welcome news of the ceasefire, Ms. Bachelet emphasised that the root causes of violence must be addressed. 

Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, speaking on behalf of his mandate and on behalf of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, said the events over the past month in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and also across Israel, were a calamitous repetition of what all had previously witnessed in 2018, 2014, 2012, 2008-09, 2000, 1987 and further and deeper into the tragic history of the Palestinians.  The United Nations had demanded repeatedly over the years that Israel comply with its international legal obligations and remove its settlements, stop its evictions, end the unlawful annexation, and halt the demolitions and forced removal of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.  Defiance by the occupying power had been the answer.  The international community must insist upon a brand-new diplomatic playbook to end the Israeli occupation, one that was centred on rights, rather than Realpolitik.

Issam Younis, Director of Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza and Head of the Independent Commission for Human Rights of Palestine, said that all over Gaza, for 11 days, entire families were huddled and living on kitchen floors as this seemed the safest place.  But nowhere was safe in Gaza.  Israel’s unlawful closure of Gaza, 14 years of collective punishment, had been tightened.  The bringing down of the Associated Press building had made it more difficult to get information out.  Recent events were a mere symptom: for 73 years, there had been systematic, institutionalised efforts to impose a settler-colonial regime of racial domination and oppression on both sides of the Green Line Younis said. 

Mohammad Barakeh, former Member of the Knesset and Chairman of the Arab Higher Committee in Israel, speaking on behalf of the committee that represented all Palestinians inside Israel, noted that they had been spared displacement in 1948.  Over the past decades, they had faced different forms of discrimination – confiscation of land, imposition of emergency laws, restriction of job opportunities and more.  In July 2018, the Knesset had approved the Jewish nation-state law stipulating that the land of Palestine was the historical home of the Jews, who had the exclusive right to self-determination.  With this, democratic principles were dismissed by Netanyahu and the Israeli State. 

Muna El Kurd, journalist and resident of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, said the Israeli occupation forces refused to properly examine the property rights of Palestinians while the Israeli Government and colonial businesses were separating Palestinians from the land.  There was an apartheid regime: settlers could move around freely unlike Palestinians.  Sheikh Jarrah was illegally sealed off; residents could go out with their papers but nobody – nor their friends nor their loved ones- could come into this area.  The colonial violence suffered by residents and people who took part in peaceful protest was barbaric.  Palestinians were fired upon using rubber bullets, including in their homes.
In the discussion that followed, speakers, while welcoming the decision of the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes within its material scope that might have been committed on the territory of Palestine, urged the Court to include the crime against humanity of apartheid in its investigations.  History showed the ceasefire would not end the everyday sufferings of the people in the occupied Palestinian territory that had been going on for more than seven decades.  The Council should take decisive actions towards ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including through dispatching a commission of inquiry, speakers said.  Some speakers said the establishment of a commission of inquiry would not serve the purpose of peace.  Regrettably, the self-professed global champions of human rights continued to shield the occupier from global accountability, and literally provided arm and ammunitions for its widely reported war crimes and crimes of apartheid against the Palestinian people.  Member States should support the draft resolution; the credibility of the Council was at stake.

Speaking in the urgent debate were Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of Namibia; Abdul Momen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh; Shah Mahmood Qureshi,  Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan; and Najla Elmangoush, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Government of National Unity of Libya.

Also taking the floor were Egypt on behalf of the Group of Arab States, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Portugal on behalf of the European Union, Sweden on behalf of Nordic countries, Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, South Africa on behalf of the Group of African States, Mauritania, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, Russian Federation, Bolivia, Bahrain, India, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, China, Republic of Korea, Czech Republic, Venezuela, Sudan, Somalia, Denmark, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Kuwait and Turkey.

The Council again met Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. to continue the discussion and take action on the draft resolution before closing the special session.

Opening Remarks by the President of the Human Rights Council
NAZHAT SHAMEEM KHAN, President of the Human Rights Council, opened the first meeting of the thirtieth special session of the Human Rights Council by outlining the proposed extraordinary modalities for the session.  These modalities had been defined due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which prohibited public meetings of more than 15 participants, and should not serve as a precedent.  She urged all participants to take part in the discussions with the dignity that the situation required.
Statement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights

MICHELLE BACHELET, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that appalling events in Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territory, the most significant escalation of hostilities since 2014, had forced the Council into special session.  Two hundred and forty-two Palestinians had been killed by the Israeli Security Forces in air strikes on Gaza, including 63 children, with over 74,000 Palestinians displaced.  In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 28 Palestinians, including five children, were killed as of 24 May.  At the same time, rockets launched by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups killed 10 Israeli citizens and residents, including two children, and forced thousands into shelters.  Two main issues had led to the rise in tensions: the imminent evictions of Palestinian families and their forced displacement in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for settlers, and the Israeli Security Forces’ deployment at the Al Aqsa compound, restricting access to thousands of worshippers during the last days of Ramadan, using force against peaceful protesters and worshippers inside Al Aqsa Mosque.
As a result, Hamas and other armed groups had launched a heavy rocket barrage towards Israel, indiscriminately failing to distinguish between military and civilian objects (refusing to acknowledge Hamas as a terrorist organisation).  In response, Israel had conducted an intense airstrike campaign on Gaza, reportedly targeting members of armed groups but resulting in extensive civilian deaths and injuries.  Government buildings, residential homes and apartments, humanitarian organizations, medical and media facilities were totally or partially destroyed, despite Israel’s precautions – these attacks may constitute war crimes.  Locating military assets in densely populated civilian areas, and launching attacks from them, was also a violation of international humanitarian law – but the actions of one party did not absolve the other from its obligations.  Palestinian civilians had virtually no protection against airstrikes, living in one of the most densely populated areas of the world (failed to pinpoint and ask what the Palestinians were doing when Hamas was building terror tunnels and amassing rockets for mass destruction against nobody else but Israel).  Both sides had rights to defend their citizens, and Palestinians had the right to live safely and freely in their homes, something that they were unable to experience due to the Israeli blockade. 

The risk of evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem remained high, while the situation in the West Bank was alarming, with Israeli Security Forces killing 10 Palestinians on 14 May – the highest number in one day since the collection of these figures by the United Nations began in 2008.  The situation inside Israel was concerning: mob attacks took place on individuals in mixed cities of Bat-Yam, Jaffa and Acra, as well as attacks on places of worship instigated by both sides, with Israeli police failing to protect Palestinian citizens.  Despite the welcome news of the ceasefire, Ms. Bachelet emphasised that the root causes of violence must be addressed.  Only when human rights were fully respected and protected could trust start being built between the various communities and a durable, lasting and just peace be achieved.  Calling for an urgent rebuilding in Gaza, Ms. Bachelet expressed hope that this was the last time such a special session was needed. 

Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967

MICHAEL LYNK, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, speaking on behalf of his mandate and on behalf of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, said the events over the past month in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and also across Israel, were a calamitous repetition of what all had previously witnessed in 2018, 2014, 2012, 2008-09, 2000, 1987 and further and deeper into the tragic history of the Palestinians.  The United Nations had demanded repeatedly over the years that Israel comply with its international legal obligations and remove its settlements, stop its evictions, end the unlawful annexation, and halt the demolitions and forced removal of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.  Defiance by the occupying power had been the answer.  Now that the last missiles and rockets had been fired, and the tears from the last funerals were slowly drying, accountability must rise to the top of the international agenda and of this Council.  The international community must insist upon a brand-new diplomatic playbook to end the Israeli occupation, one that was centred on rights, rather than Realpolitik.

The various peace initiatives over the past three decades – from the 1993 Declaration of Principles to the 2020 Trump Peace for Prosperity Plan – had all been conducted largely or entirely outside of the framework of international law and human rights.  This had allowed Israel to make the core issues of self-determination, annexation and settlements negotiable issues, rather than issues of profound illegality from which Israel must completely desist.  The simple reality was that the occupation had become as entrenched and as sustainable as it had because the international community had never imposed a meaningful cost on Israel for acting as an acquisitive and defiant occupying power.  Accordingly, Mr. Lynk urged that the Council’s future work on the Israeli occupation must be guided by three principles.  First, the diplomatic framework for fully ending the occupation was to be found within the framework of international law and human rights, not in Realpolitik.  Second, Israel had been a bad-faith occupier, and it was magical thinking to believe that its occupation would not end unless and until meaningful accountability measures had been imposed.  And, third, because of the vastly asymmetrical differences in power between Israel and the Palestinians, active international intervention was indispensable.
Keynote Speakers

ISSAM YOUNIS, Director for Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza and the Head of the Independent Commission for Human Rights of Palestine, noting that he lived in Gaza City with his family, said the governments of those present had granted systematic impunity to Israel, which had used its power to deliberately attack civilians, killing 253 Palestinians, including children while they slept.  All over Gaza, for 11 days, entire families were huddled and living on kitchen floors as this seemed the safest place.  But nowhere was safe in Gaza.  Israel’s unlawful closure of Gaza, 14 years of collective punishment, had been tightened.  The bringing down of the Associated Press building had made it more difficult to get information out.  Recent events were a mere symptom: for 73 years, there had been systematic, institutionalised efforts to impose a settler-colonial regime of racial domination and oppression on both sides of the Green Line.  The apartheid regime also affected Palestinian refugees and Palestinians living abroad.

MOHAMMAD BARAKEH, Former Member of the Knesset and Chairman of the Arab Higher Committee in Israel, speaking on behalf of the committee that represented all Palestinians inside Israel, noted that they had been spared displacement in 1948.  Over the past decades, they had faced different forms of discrimination – confiscation of land, imposition of emergency laws, restriction of job opportunities and more.  In July 2018 the Knesset had approved the Jewish nation-state law stipulating that the land of Palestine was the historical home of the Jews, who had the exclusive right to self-determination.  With this, democratic principles were dismissed by Netanyahu and the Israeli State.  During the past few weeks, the world had seen soldiers storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque and attacking peaceful worshippers, and Palestinians had taken to the streets to protest the escalation of Israeli aggression, also engaging in a general strike on 18 May.  A unified Palestinian stance had emerged, but Israel had attacked their democratic right to peaceful demonstration, and 1,700 people had been arrested.  Many were still in detention.  After the ceasefire, the Israeli State continued its policy of harassment and repression of Palestinians – this was a clear form of collective punishment. 

MUNA EL KURD, Journalist and resident of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, said the Israeli occupation forces refused to properly examine the property rights of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and East Jerusalem while the Israeli Government and colonial businesses were separating Palestinians from the land.  There was an apartheid regime: settlers could move around freely unlike Palestinians.  Sheikh Jarrah was illegally sealed off; residents could only go out with their papers but nobody – nor their friends nor their loved ones- could come into this area.  The colonial violence suffered by residents and people who took part in peaceful protest was extreme and barbaric.  Palestinians were fired upon using rubber bullets, including in their homes.  This had been the case of an 11-year-old child.  What was happening in Palestine amounted to war crimes; forced displacement was a war crime.  According to international law, Israel had no sovereignty in East Jerusalem.  The settler organizations trying to take over Sheikh Jarrah had no property rights.  She shared her own story of being forced by a court to share her house with settlers – a situation that flew in the face of international law.
Statements by the Concerned Countries

MEIRAV EILON SHAHAR, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Office at Geneva, noted that Hamas was a genocidal terrorist organization that used women and children as human shields.  Calling for all Muslims to fight Jews and kill them, Hamas fired rockets at Israeli civilians – this constituted a war crime.  How would Member States respond if their cities were under attack?  Israel was a democracy that sought peace, respected international law and had a moral duty to protect innocent lives.  Hamas, on the other hand, had a complete disregard for Palestinian lives, building terrorist infrastructure under schools and hospitals, resulting in the death of innocents.  Hamas had initiated this conflict while Israel had done everything it could to reduce the tension, taking extraordinary steps.  Thirty per cent of all Human Rights Council special sessions targeted Israel – this ignored facts on the ground and a failure to condemn Hamas in this session would be unacceptable.  Member States could not be pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas at the same time.  Israel would continue to defend its people while adhering to international law.

RIYAD AL-MALIKI, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, stated that a new barbarism against the people of Palestine was being incited by Israel in full view of the world.  More than 66 children and 39 women were killed, and thousands of buildings were destroyed, all in order to expand Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian land, and establish an apartheid regime based on the oppression of the Palestinian people from the river to the sea.  Expressing deep gratitude to the Member States that made this special session possible and the role of the Human Rights Council, Mr. Al-Maliki noted that the session was being held as Israel continued to displace Palestinians from their neighbourhoods and replacing them with settlers, in a clear attempt to change the demographic character and status of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem.  In the absence of any accountability for Israel, Palestinians had responded to defend their land and their right to life, but like any colonial regime, Israel had responded with the killing, destruction and execution of entire families.  The colonial occupation policies of Israel were the source of the problem: there would be no peace without the end of the occupation.

Debate
While welcoming the decision of the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes within its material scope that might have been committed on the territory of Palestine, speakers urged the Court to include the crime against humanity of apartheid in its investigations.  History showed that the ceasefire would not end the everyday sufferings of the people in the occupied Palestinian territory that had been going on for more than seven decades.  The Council should take decisive actions towards ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including through dispatching a commission of inquiry.  Urging the establishment of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, speakers condemned Israel’s continued attacks against the Gaza Strip, and urged the international community to put an end to the massacres committed by Israel.  Global inaction had sustained a disturbing pattern of impunity for wilful violations of international law by the occupying power.  Regrettably, the self-professed global champions of human rights continued to shield the occupier from global accountability, and literally provided arm and ammunitions for its widely reported war crimes and crimes of apartheid against the Palestinian people.

Reiterating condemnation of the indiscriminate launching of rockets by Hamas and other terrorist groups, speakers recognised Israel’s right to self-defence, and emphasised that such a right must be exercised in a proportionate manner and in full respect of international humanitarian law.  The status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem must be respected and the right to worship upheld.  All acts of aggression and incitement by the occupying power, as well as its attempts at changing the demography, character and legal status of the occupied Palestinian territory must stop. 

The establishment of an international independent commission of inquiry was necessary and would contribute to putting an end to impunity.  Expressing deep concern about the acceleration of the Israeli settlement policy and the imminent threat of eviction of hundreds of Palestinian families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem, speakers demanded the immediate end of all such illegal policies and practices that were in violation of Israel’s obligations under international law.  Some speakers said the establishment of a commission of inquiry would not serve the purpose of peace.  Speakers noted the role played by Egypt and Jordan, and, warning against attempts to foist unilateral solutions, stressed the importance of maintaining the truce and delivering humanitarian assistance to affected populations.

US State Secretary Blinken reiterates commitment to rebuild Gaza and deal with the “humanitarian situation”

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US State Secretary Antony Blinken.and Israeli Foreign Minister Gaba Ashkenazi

Tel Aviv: On arrival in Israel within days of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the terror outfit operating from Gaza, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed the strong commitment of United States to Israel’s security, to the partnership between the two countries, to move forward now on dealing with the “humanitarian situation” , starting the work to rebuild Gaza and to re-engage with the Palestinian community and Palestinian Authority.  He expressed the hope that things will start moving in a positive direction to bring about material progress in the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians.

israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Antony Blinken and Gaba Ashkenazi

Blinken said he has spent a lot of time on the phone with the Israeli Foreign Minister over these past months and certainly over the last few weeks.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi welcomed Blinken on his first official visit to Israel and and said the United States is Israel’s closest ally.  I’m committed, as I’m sure the Secretary too is, for expanding the relationship, he said and thanked the US President  and the Secretary of State and his team for their unwavering support of the State of Israel. He particularly thanked the US for the dedicated and close relation and involvement during recent days. 

Earlier, Blinken spoke with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. Both expressed their support for the ceasefire between Israel, Hamas, and other parties in Gaza. Blinken especially thanked the UAE Foreign Minister for his efforts to de-escalate the conflict and discussed the need to explore new paths to achieve peace. He also flagged the importance of reconstruction efforts in Gaza.

Simulataneously, Blinken spoke with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Maas discussed coordination on next steps to respond to events in Belarus and relief efforts in Gaza, as well as the importance of revitalizing the NATO Alliance through an ambitious NATO 2030 process. The Secretary also reiterated U.S. concerns about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

We are not going to just let Hamas get away with it: Benjamin Netanyahu

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said in an interview on CBS “if Hamas thought they can just fire rockets and then sit back and enjoy immunity that’s false (foolish). We are targeting a terrorist organisation that’s targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians using them as human shields. We are doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their rockets, their rocket caches, their arms.We are not going to just let them get away with it. Nor will they do

Netanyahu was firm in stating “Hamas is criminally attacking Israel from civilian neighbourhoods, from schools, homes and office buildings. That’s what they are doing and we are taking action, trying to target them with this great precision that we can. Unfortunately, there are occasionally civilian casualties which we regret.”

On the Bombing of the building that housed Associated Press and Aljazeera in Gaza, Netanyahu said an intelligence office for the Palestinian Terrorist organisation was housed in that building to plot and organise terrorist attack against Israeli citizens. It was a perfectly legitimate target. “We took every precaution to make sure there were no civilian injuries. In fact there were no deaths, no injuries whatsoever. Well I can’t say about injuries if someone recieved a fragment of a stone, I don’t know that but no people were killed. Now imagine, ask yourself how is that possible. You see these high rise towers that are used by Hamas over and over again. They collapsed and no one is killed. Why does that happen. Because we, unlike Hamas, take special precaution to tell people to leave the building, leave the premises. We make sure that everyone is gone before we bring down those terrorist facilities and that’s the difference between Israel and Hamas. They deliberately target our cities, deliberately target our citizens. They glorify the death of children, civilians and old people. They are happy with it. I think they are happy with any deaths that are caused. We grieve for every non-combatant loss in Gaza and we grieve for all our civilians who die. We are not happy with it and we try to minimise.”

When Netantahu’s attention was drawn to the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remark that Israel because of its strength and power and dominance has this extra burden on the question of casualties during the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas and was asked whether Israel is meeting its extra burden in responding to these rocket attacks from Hamas, he responded by saying
Certainly (we) are (meeting the extra burden) and I can tell you that there are many studies by serious military analysts who have compared Israel’s action with other western armies in similar situation fighting the radical Islamists – whether its in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere and do you know how prolonged those conflicts are, how many casualties are caused. I think there has to be a measure of fairness, there has to be a measure of reasonableness in projecting this kind of criticism against Israeli Army which is second to none in minimising civilian casualty and protecting our own citizens.”

Netanyahu further said, “If Hamas would simply move these rockets out of the civilian areas, if they move their command out of these homes and offices then there wouldn’t be any problem. But the fact is they are sending thousands of rockets on our cities with the specific purpose of murdering our citizens. If that happened to Washington and New York, what will you do.”

When his attention was drawn to United States Senator Burney Sanders, who has said that the treatment of Palestinians is so rough that they are marginalised, demonised in such a fashion that there can never be peace, never a two State solution. And more specifically that the treatment of Palestinians outside of this week is to create conditions that are always going to lead to this kind of unrest not just the missile attack but the riots one sees in cities, Netanyahu replied: “Let’s divide it into two. First of all the Hamas is not attacking us because they are trying to increase the welfare of Palestinians. In fact they are taking huge funds to build the terror tunnels we have been able to neutralise, to have rockets, missiles and other armaments. They are not building Gaza. They are doing everything in their power to turn it into a fortified terror camp in order to destroy Israel. And they openly say, their goal is to destroy Israel. They are not interested in any kind of coexistence, any kind peace. The four peace treaties I have made with the Arab countries, they are changing the middle-East (but) they are doing everything in their power to avoid the path of peace and reconciliation. Any objective observer understands that Hamas is out to destroy the State of Israel and they are not a partner.As far as the citizens of Israel or Arabs, I have done more than any other Prime Minister. Have spent billions and billions of dollars and Israeli shekel – five times more than all the previous governments combined to ensure that the Israeli Arab citizens, all of them, are part of the Israeli miracle, the great economic success story. I invested that because I believe in it. 
There has been a minority, a violent minority that’s trying to challenge that as well.”

On the ongoing hostilities, the Israeli PM expressed hope that it doesn’t continue very long. He further said Hamas on our national day, Jerusalem day, attacked or provoked attack on our Jerusalem and then thousands of rockets and missiles on our cities and any country has to defend itself. It has the natural right of self defence. We’ll do whatever it takes to restore order, quiet and security of our people and deterrence. We are trying to deprive Hamas’ terrorist abilities and deprive their will to do this again.

When asked to comment on reports stating “Egypt offered truce, Hamas said yes and you said no, Netanyahu responded by saying: “Frankly if Hamas thought they can just fire rockets and then sit back and enjoy immunity that’s false. We are targeting a terrorist organisation that’s targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians using them as human shields. We are doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their rockets, their rocket caches, their arms.We are not going to just let them get away with it. Nor will they do. Just imagine what would happen, if you had 2900 rockets fired on New York and Washington, you would understand our position.” 

On criticism from international community, the Israeli PM said: “But here is what happens: When the international community attacks Israel, they are actually encouraging Hamas to continue these attacks because Hamas is great, for both killing Israeli citizens and they are happy with their own civilian casualties because it gets the international community to focus their attacks on Israel instead of Hamas.”  

On persisting criticism, and personal attacks by his own opponents in Israel, Netanyahu said: “It persists because I have been re-elected 5 times. It persists because I beat every candidate in public polls and direct election. Apparently the people of Israel, the majority don’t agree with this false criticism, this cynicism. They know that I am standing there for Israel and that I am doing what I can for the safety and prosperity of the Israeli people – by the way of all Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike.”