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Netanyahu sets out moral case for IDF strategy against Hamas

At a press conference in Jerusalem four hours ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set out a moral justification for the way the IDF has dealt with the Hamas strategy of firing rockets at Israel, and tunneling under the Israeli border, from the heart of Palestinian residential neighborhoods in Gaza.

Arguing that Israel’s battle over the past month against terrorists in Gaza using civilians as human shields came during a critical test period, he said it would be a “moral mistake” as well as a practical one to not take action against terrorists operating from mosques, schools and other civilian areas.

Such behavior would represent “an enormous victory for terrorists everywhere,” Netanyahu said, and would result in more and more civilian deaths around the world.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a press conference at his Jerusalem offices, on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/JIM HOLLANDER/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a press conference at his Jerusalem offices, on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/JIM HOLLANDER/POOL)

“What’s happening now is not only a test for Israel but for the international community, for the civilized world itself, [for] how it is to defend itself,” Netanyahu declared.

Terrorists must not be allowed to “fight from civilian areas with impunity” and rely on world condemnation of the victimized nation — in this case, Israel — for responding to attacks, he warned.

The prime minister blamed Hamas for Gaza’s civilian deaths, due to its rejection of various ceasefire proposals throughout the campaign and its deliberate basing of its military infrastructure in the heart of Gaza population centers.

Netanyahu spoke in Hebrew and in English, and screened video clips showing Hamas operating from residential areas. He also said journalists in Gaza were being intimidated and urged that those leaving Gaza now ensure that the truth came out.

— Read Raphael Ahren’s full story here.

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