11.21.12. – Israel-Hamas ceasefire takes effect in the Gaza Strip.

21:03 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the press as the Israel-Hamas ceasefire takes effect in the Gaza Strip. He says that he is taking the opportunity to stabilize the situation and bring calm to the region before resorting to use of greater force.

“Now, I know that there are citizens who expect an even more intense military action — and we may very well need one, but at this time the correct thing for the State of Israel is to take advantage of this opportunity for a long lasting truce,” he says.

“As prime minister, the responsibility rests upon me — and it is my foremost responsibility — to take the correct steps to safeguard our security. That is how I have acted and that is how I shall continue to act.”

“Terrorist organizations [in the Gaza Strip] assumed that [Israel] wouldn’t attack,” Netanyahu says. “They were wrong.”

He emphasizes that Operation Pillar of Defense decimated Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure, killing many of the group’s commanders and operatives, and destroyed thousands of rockets and many rocket launchers.

He expresses his deep appreciation to US President Barack Obama for his strong support of Israel during Pillar of Defense, and for his contribution to the Iron Dome missile defense system. He reiterates that Israel will do whatever it takes to defend its citizens.

“Since [Israel's] founding, we have faced complex challenges in the Middle East. In the last few years, this complexity increased greatly,” he says. “We must take into account all of the military and political considerations as one. That is how a responsible government behaves, and that is how we behaved this time as well.”

He says a more extensive military operation “may yet be demanded,” and that ultimately Israel’s goals remain as stated when this operation began: achieving long-term calm for the residents of southern Israel.

20:53 A Channel 2 snap poll finds that 70 percent of the Israeli public does not support signing a ceasefire with Hamas, while 24% are in favor of it. Six percent say they don’t know.

Source: timesofisrael.com

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