‘Ceasefire is only the beginning’ — Lapid

Finance Minister Yair Lapid visits the family of Ze’ev Etzion, who was killed by mortar fire in southern Israel on Tuesday.

After the visit, Lapid delivers the following remarks:

Operation Protective Edge cannot end with this ceasefire. The ceasefire is the beginning of the second stage of the operation, the diplomatic stage that will lead to the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. In September the donor countries will meet and it cannot be that money from the entire world will be sent to Gaza without Hamas being disarmed and the Gaza Strip demilitarized. We will lead a regional conference which will aim to bring in the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world, including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, to reach a deal on the principle of demilitarization for rehabilitation. If Hamas wants to rebuild Gaza then they must understand that they need to disarm.

The residents of southern Israel cannot continue to live this way. The Finance Ministry and the State of Israel are committed to supporting the communities around the Gaza Strip and throughout the south. The children need to go to school and they all need to rebuild their lives and their homes. It is our responsibility to help them and that is what we are working toward.

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