Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Thursday, 14 August 2014), met with Hof Ashkelon Regional Council Chairman Yair Farjun, Shaar Hanegev Regional Council Chairman Alon Schuster and Sdot Negev Regional Council Chairman Tamir Idan, and told them at the start of their meeting:
"The IDF began Operation Protective Edge after Hamas had gone back to an intermittent fire at communities in the south. Our policy has been clear and consistent – we will respond strongly even to intermittent firing. We embarked on this campaign in order to strengthen the security of Israel’s citizens in general and your security in particular. Over the weekend had responded in strength and hit over 160 terrorist targets throughout the Gaza Strip in response to mortar fire at our communities. Also, the IDF has already completed the work of neutralizing the network of terrorist tunnels that were due to be used in a combined attack on the communities of the south.
On the first day of Operation Protective Edge I appointed Prime Minister’s Office Director General Harel Locker to make certain that your needs were being met even during the operation and did not wait until it was over. This week the Cabinet decided to build a student village in Sderot at an investment of NIS 50 million. This was in addition to the Cabinet’s decision to invest NIS 417 in strengthening civilian resilience in Sderot and the communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip in 2015-2016 and its decision to assist residences, businesses and local councils in the wake of Operation Protective Edge.
The unity shown by Israel’s citizens from the start of the campaign has been impressive and assisted us in conducting the campaign in a responsible and sagacious manner. The unity – both of goal and in action – that was seen during the operation is a national asset and it is important that it stay with us.
We will not conclude Operation Protective Edge until its goals are achieved: The restoration of quiet and security to the citizens of Israel for a continuous period while striking significantly at the infrastructures of terrorism."
Shaar Hanegev Council Chairman Schuster said:
"I feel that there has been a change here; this summer has seen a change. We are undergoing a change. We are united and it is clear to everybody – citizens, the government and certainly to us – that there is no going back to the reality of the past 13 years. Therefore, if they do not agree to a change, then there could be a larger war here, after which the situation will improve."
Sdot Negev Council Chairman Idan said:
"We are here today, and this is not a demonstration, to maintain the unity that has been created, to join more people to this unity and to give to you – not us, we have spirit – the spirit not only from us but from all Israel and this is the goal of this meeting. Our insistence has been, and we know everybody’s speeches, let nobody be confused, you will hear everybody say the same thing more or less: Support for the government, support for the IDF and national unity, that the spirit of the entire nation should be a wind at our back, you, us and the IDF. Do what needs to be done and what you know must be done. We are strong and can take more. We will bite our lip and we want to know that at the end you will bring us to a different place – quiet for a long period."