Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will do all in its power to protect its citizens.
“This morning, we decided that Israel will accept the ceasefire deal,” he says, at a brief press conference alongside Defense Minister Ya’alon and IDF Chief Gantz. But, he adds, he made clear that if “Hamas and Islamic Jihad don’t accept the ceasefire, they will pay a heavy price.”
And that, he says, is what is now happening, as Israel steps up its attacks on Hamas and other terror targets.
“Whoever tries to harm Israel, Israel will harm them,” the prime minister adds.
“Hamas leaves us no choice but to respond. We will not stop until we have rid Israel of the threats. We will do all we can in order for quiet to return to the people of Israel.”
Netanyahu says that “when there’s no ceasefire, the response will be fire.”
He does not specify new means that Israel will use, making no mention, for instance, of a possible ground offensive.
He does appear to respond to Liberman’s veiled attack on him earlier this afternoon, by noting that these are moments for taking decisions calmly, not hastily. “I am determined to do the right thing,” he says, and turning to the people of Israel, adds, “I know you are relying on me and on us.” In a slap at his foreign minister, he promises to “ignore the background noise.”