PM Netanyahu: "No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire, and Israel will not tolerate this situation."
US President Obama: "If we’re serious about wanting to resolve this situation and create a genuine peace process, it starts with no more missiles being fired into Israel’s territory, and that then gives us the space to try to deal with these longstanding conflicts that exist."
Rocket hits in Israel since the Hamas takeover of Gaza, 2006
* The number of launchings, in our assessment, is about
three times greater than the number of hits.
PM Netanyahu at meeting with US Secretary Clinton (20 Nov 2012):
"One of the things that we are doing is trying to resist and counter a terrorist barrage which is aimed directly at our civilians and doing so by minimizing civilian casualties, whereas the terrorist enemies of Israel are doing everything in their power to maximize the number of civilian casualties. Obviously, no country can tolerate a wanton attack on its civilians.
Now if there is a possibility of achieving solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that, but if not, I’m sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people."
US Secretary of State Clinton (20 Nov 2012):
"America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza. The rocket attacks from terrorist organizations inside Gaza on Israeli cities and towns must end and a broader calm restored. The goal must be a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
President Peres at meeting with UNSG Ban Ki-moon (20 Nov 2012):
"There is no room for comparison between Israel and Hamas. Unfortunately they target civilians, we protect them. They hide amongst their civilian population, we are extremely careful to avoid hitting all civilians. Our army is working hard to avoid harming civilians.
Israel left Gaza willingly and totally. Nobody forced us. Hamas is the only one responsible for the suffering in Gaza. Hamas can put an end to it. They can bring calm to their people when they stop shooting. Israel did not start this situation but Israel, like any other country, cannot allow her citizens to become a target. It is against the charter of the UN and basic human responsibility."
PM Netanyahu at meeting with UNSG Ban Ki-moon (20 Nov 2012):
"Israel is, I think, remarkable in that, when you consider the conditions that we’re facing, I think that something almost without parallel in history is taking place. We’re conducting these surgical operations against terrorists at a time when our own population is being bombarded by rocket attacks.
Unfortunately, Mr. Secretary, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and the other terrorist groups, do not share your concern about our civilian casualties or about civilian casualties at all. They’re deliberately and indiscriminately targeting our civilians and they deliberately hide behind their civilians. The terrorists target our children and they use their own children as human shields. They place explosives, weapons, other destructive weapons of any kind in schools, mosques, hospitals, universities.
Targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians, as you well know is a double war crime. If we hope to make these tactics illegitimate, they should be condemned in the most forceful terms by all responsible members of the international community. The moment we draw symmetry between the victims of terror and the unintended casualties that result from legitimate military action against the terrorists, the minute that false symmetry is drawn, the terrorists win"
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (20 Nov 2012):
"Rockets have hit just outside Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and Israeli towns just outside Gaza, killing and injuring civilians. This is unacceptable, irresponsible and reckless. I strongly condemn these actions. Rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel must cease immediately."
"Rockets have hit areas just outside of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as Israeli towns near Gaza, killing and injuring civilians. I myself visited Sderot and these cities, and met many people, and I was able to witness myself how these people were living in fear and terror. This is unacceptable, irresponsible and reckless. I strongly condemn these actions. Rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel must cease immediately."
FM Liberman at meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (20 Nov 2012):
"We appreciate the international community’s position, which unequivocally supports Israel’s right to protect itself and its citizens. Talk and public calls on Israel to abstain from a ground operation strengthen the Hamas and extend the current confrontation. If Israel will be forced to initiate a ground operation, it will not be a limited operation, nor will it be ‘Operation Pillar of Defense 2’, but rather ‘Defensive Shield 2.’"
PM Netanyahu at meeting with German FM Westerwelle (20 Nov 2012):
"Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza have no compunction whatsoever at firing on our civilians while hiding behind civilians. We do the very opposite. For us, every time there are civilian casualties, that’s an operational failure. For them, every time there are civilian casualties, that’s an operational success. So there’s a marked distinction and the people of Israel can’t long tolerate this kind of situation where our cities are under constant rocket attacks."
German FM Westerwelle at meetings with Pres Peres and PM Netanyahu (20 Nov 2012):
The German Foreign Minister conveyed his government’s support for Israel’s position and told President Peres that the German government is standing by Israel and that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens.
The Foreign Minister said that within the international community there is a mistaken impression that the rocket fire against Israel came as a response to the escalation of the last few days but that Germany knows, and explains to others, that the rocket attacks have been occurring for years.
"Israel has every right to defend itself and protect its own citizens against these missile attacks from Gaza into your country. Of course we now have to consider and discuss how a cease-fire is possible. But there is one key condition for everything else, and that is the stop of the missile attacks against Israel."
President Peres at meeting with Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair (19 Nov 2012): "We have no interest and no ambition in conquering land, but we have to stop the firing at our citizens. You clearly understand what it means when mothers can’t sleep at night." On Egypt’s involvement, President Peres said that "The attempt by President Morsi is appreciated. Egypt is a significant player in the Middle East; strangely it is Hamas that doesn’t listen to the Egyptian President."
Council of the European Union (19 Nov 2012):
"… The European Union strongly condemns the rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip which Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza must cease immediately. There can be no justification for the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians. Israel has the right to protect its population from these kinds of attacks; in doing so it must act proportionately and ensure the protection of civilians at all times. The EU stresses the need for all sides to fully respect international humanitarian law."
US President Obama at joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Thailand (18 Nov 2012):
"Let me start with Gaza. Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles; they were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians. And we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself.
Now, what is also true is, is that we are actively working with all the parties in the region to see if we can end those missiles being fired without further escalation of violence in the region. And so I’ve had several conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I’ve had several conversations with President Morsi of Egypt. I’ve spoken to Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, who was visiting Egypt right in the midst of what was happening in Gaza. And my message to all of them was that Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory. If that can be accomplished without a ramping-up of military activity in Gaza, that’s preferable…
We’re going to have to see what kind of progress we can make in the next 24, 36, 48 hours. But what I’ve said to President Morsi and Prime Minister Erdogan is that those who champion the cause of the Palestinians should recognize that if we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, then the likelihood of us getting back on any kind of peace track that leads to a two-state solution is going to be pushed off way into the future.
And so if we’re serious about wanting to resolve this situation and create a genuine peace process, it starts with no more missiles being fired into Israel’s territory, and that then gives us the space to try to deal with these longstanding conflicts that exist."
Prime Minister Netanyahu to Cabinet (18 Nov 2012):
"Today I will continue to speak with world leaders. I appreciate the understanding that they are showing for Israel’s right to defend itself. In my talks with the leaders, I emphasize the effort Israel is making to avoid hitting civilians, and this at a time when Hamas and the [other] terrorist organizations are making every effort to hit civilian targets in Israel. We are a responsible government that is obligated, above all, to the security of its citizens, and we are acting in accordance with this obligation."
President Peres at meeting with French FM Fabius (18 Nov): "The State of Israel has been left with no option other than to defend itself. It cannot be argued that Gaza is occupied. Israel left Gaza willingly, yet they target our children as they are leaving for school. The question, therefore, is why are they firing? We must understand that we are talking of millions of innocent people in southern Israel who cannot close their eyes for fear of the rockets.”
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes in (Nov 17, 2012): "We believe that the precipitating factor for the conflict was the rocket fire coming out of Gaza. We believe that Israel has a right to defend itself, and they’ll make their own decisions about the tactics that they use in that regard… These rockets have been fired into Israeli civilian areas and territory for some time now. So the Israelis have endured far too much of a threat from these rockets for far too long. And that is what led the Israelis to take the action that they did in Gaza. I think we have a shared view that if you could have a de-escalation that brings an end to this violence that would be a positive outcome. We just believe that that has to include putting an end to the rocket fire that has terrorized far too much of the Israeli population for far too long."
PM Netanyahu’s statement to the foreign press (15 Nov 2012):
"In recent days and weeks, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza have made normal life impossible for over one million Israelis. No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire, and Israel will not tolerate this situation. This is why my government has instructed the Israeli Defense Forces to conduct surgical strikes against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza."
– Full statement
President Peres addresses Council of Religious Leaders in Israel (15 Nov 2012):
"The world is beginning to understand that we are operating with responsibility and we do not take human life lightly. I don’t know any country that would show restraint for as long as Israel did during the attacks on the south."
– Full statement
Defense Minister Barak (14 Nov 2012): "A few hours ago, the political echelons ordered the IDF to launch Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. The accuracy of the intelligence on behalf of both the Israel Security Agency and our Military Intelligence, as well as the precise action of the IDF, led to the elimination of Hamas’ military leader Ahmed Jabari. We also struck most of the long range Fajr missiles and additional Hamas infrastructure.
Israel does not want war. But Hamas’ consistent provocation in recent weeks, in particular the incessant rounds of artillery rockets and mortars into the heart of our southern communities, the tunnel which exploded deep into Israeli territory, the anti-tank missile fired at a jeep – again inside of Israel – forced our hand into acting with both precision and decisiveness."
– Full statement
Prime Minister Netanyahu (14 Nov 2012): "Hamas and the terror organizations decided to escalate their attacks on the citizens of Israel over the last few days. We will not accept a situation in which Israeli citizens are threatened by the terror of rockets… Today, we hit Hamas strategic targets precisely… The terrorist organizations – Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others – are deliberately harming our citizens, while intentionally hiding behind their citizens. On the other hand, we avoid harming civilians as much as possible and that is one fundamental difference between us."
– Full statement
President Shimon Peres spoke to US President Barack Obama (14 Nov 2012) about the situation in southern Israel and Gaza. At the start of the conversation President Peres updated President Obama about the situation on Israel’s southern border and said, "The head of the military force of Hamas was killed half an hour ago. He was a most extreme man and was in charge of all the attacks and assassinations from Gaza against Israel. We shall handle it with great care. Our intention is not to raise the flames, but already for days, day and night, they are shooting rockets at Israel. Women cannot fall asleep. I was today there with the children. You know, there are limits. So I want you to know and I wanted to explain our motives."
Statement by Israel Amb to UN Ron Prosor (14 Nov 2012, UN video)
Press Statement by Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson, State Department, Washington, DC
November 14, 2012
We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence. There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately. We support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties.
Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self determination.