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Netanyahu: Gaza operation 'justified, proportionate'
Published Wednesday 06/08/2014 (updated) 08/08/2014 13:42
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press
conference on August 2, 2014 (AFP Gali Tibbon)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday launched a vigorous defence of Israel's month-long conflict in Gaza as "justified" and "proportionate," blaming Hamas for the heavy Palestinian civilian death toll.

"I think it was justified. I think it was proportionate and that doesn't in any way take away the deep regret we have for the loss of a single civilian casualty," he told a news conference in Jerusalem in response to a question from the US news channel CNN.

He said it would have been disproportionate to not "defend your people and giving the terrorists a license to kill."

In his first public remarks since a 72-hour ceasefire came into effect on Tuesday, Netanyahu told local and foreign journalists that the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas was to blame for the heavy destruction and civilian casualties.

"The tragedy of Gaza is that is it ruled by Hamas," he said.

Netanyahu showed reporters aerial images of homes and of a UN-run school, from which he said Hamas fired mortars and rockets during the conflict.

Israel lost 67 people during the fighting -- 64 soldiers and three civilians, one of them a Thai worker. Palestinian medics said 1,875 Gazans died, including 430 children and 243 women.

Netanyahu said Hamas fighters deliberately increased the death toll by hiding behind human shields, and firing rockets towards Israel from civilian areas.

He said it would have been a "mistake" not to allow Israel to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks because the Palestinian fighters allegedly fired from mosques and schools.

"If this were to happen, more and more civilians will die around the world because this is a testing period," he said.

"Can a terrorist organization fire thousands of rockets at the cities of a democracy?"

Netanyahu called on the international community, much of which has been critical of Israel over the devastation and human suffering in Gaza, to ostracize Hamas "for its callous abuse of civilians."

"Every civilian casualty is a tragedy, a tragedy of Hamas's own making," he added.

Israel has refused to deal with a Palestinian unity government that emerged after Hamas signed a deal with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in April following years of bitter rivalry.

Role for Abbas's PA

But Netanyahu said Israel was cooperating with the Abbas-led Palestinian Authority.

"We are cooperating with them and we are prepared to see a role for them," he said.

"It is important in the reconstruction of Gaza, assuring the humanitarian aid and also the security questions that arise that we have these discussions and cooperation," he premier added.

"In fact the ceasefire was coordinated among other things with them."

Netanyahu also sought to address reports that Israeli-US relations took a knock over the offensive, following tough criticism in Washington over civilian casualties.

He said he spoke to US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday by telephone and welcomed remarks that Washington's top diplomat made calling for the demilitarisation of Gaza.

"We work very closely with him, with the US administration with President (Barack) Obama throughout this operation and before," he said.
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1 ) Impo / Nigeria
06/08/2014 22:39
He is right.

2 ) JoeFattal / USA
06/08/2014 23:51
That would allright if Israel took Hamas out, but they didn't. They were preoccupy sealing tunnels striking civilians in that dense populated city, and somehow avoiding hitting Hamas rocket launchers since the Iron-Dome intercept few of them. Israel was waging a war on the civilian population, hitting City administration buildings, hospitals, school yards rather than Hamas. Netanyahu can call a victory if Israel would have taken Hamas out, but they took civilians out instead.

3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
06/08/2014 23:57
Sure...bring on the ICC. Can't wait to put the Hamas leaders on trial after they bragged on their websites and in their speeches how they targetted their attacks at Israeli civilians. Then again, they have that long history of blowing up Israeli buses and restaurants and slaughtering thousands of civilians. I'll write Mashaal and Haniyeh and Deff and Abu Marzouk when they are in jail. I'll send them pictures of Israeli ans Palestinians picnicing together on the beach - that should piss them off!

4 ) Sarah / The Netherlands
07/08/2014 00:17
This murderess lunatic is worse then the devil himself.

5 ) AKeenReader / UK
07/08/2014 01:14
Bibi will soon find out whether the war justified & proportionate when he is charged in front of ICC with his cronies.

6 ) @5--this war was totally / documentes and photographed
07/08/2014 12:01
by ISRAELI SOLDIERS AND LAWYERS THE ICC HAS NO CASE!!! Every time civilians were attacked-- it was (DOCUMENTED) a place from which HAMAS FIRED ROCKETS!! Take that to ICC!

7 ) M Abed / South Africa
07/08/2014 18:49
I'm sorry, how many members of Hamas were killed again? What a load of crock, not sure whom exactly you're trying to convince. The lives and livelihood that you have destroyed, guess that you have many sleepless nights because of your actions.

8 ) Jasmin Vazquez / United States
07/08/2014 19:48
Well, what no one here is saying is that Israel is an occupier, and empowering Hamas' existence by not allowing Palestine to have an official army. Where people are occupied, resistance is justified. What is your excuse for the Palestinian civilian casualties during massacres perpetrated by the IDF before Hamas existed? In the years between 1948 and 1967? Get your history straight people. The actions of the IDF validate defense for the defenseless

9 ) James Viney / UK
07/08/2014 21:15
It's funny that the only comments supporting Israel are from Israel. Let's face it the rest of the world despises your Zionist aparthied regime and we all saw your war crimes. We will lobby our governments to isolate you commercially because morally you are bankrupt. ICC or no ICC we will bring your government to account.

10 ) Palestinian Voice / USA
08/08/2014 18:38
This isn't the 70s, 80s, or 90s. We live in a world were social media is available at all corners of the world. You say Hamas was shooting their rockets from civilian homes, hospitals, and mosques??? Fine, I'll agree to disagree. But what about the IDF sniping and killing people looking for their families? What about the young girl that had 14 rounds unloaded in her while she was walking with no where to go?? Israel makes me sick! Your country is a Sham, GOD WILL STRIKE YOU DOWN!#IPROMISE

11 ) Dalia Tapia / USA
08/08/2014 23:57
We the people of the USA will STOP support to ISRAEL. Enough of using USA money!!! I have visited Israel and Palestine and it makes me sick. HUMANITY is TAKING A STAND! PEACE AND JUSTICES ARE ON THE WAY.

12 ) ian / australia
09/08/2014 04:19
"I think it was justified. I think it was proportionate..." Bibi's logic is downright Talmudic. His massacre of 1,800 people, inc. hundreds of children under 12, is "proportionate" because Jews, ALL Jews, in Israel were THREATENED with destruction by the fiery rhetoric of the Hamas Charter and primitive rockets which caused ONE death in a freak hit. Like the vengeance of Mordecai against the enemies of the Jews (who didn't actually HARM a Jew), INTENT is a hanging offense justifying mass murder.

13 ) ian / australia
09/08/2014 04:20
(contd.) Or perhaps he's invoking the logic of the Rabbis responsible for "The King's Torah" who claim the murder of civilians inc. children, is permissible under the Law if a CHANCE exists they may grow up to harm Jews. Whatever it is, Bibi's lips are moving but no-one is buying it. More watching on in disbelief and horror, thinking, "My G-d, what a psychotic, lying b******".

14 ) adimab / Nigerian
09/08/2014 20:58
If care is not taking the issue will be raked under the kapet and with his unreasonable escuse the case will turn to smoke. That's barbaric
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